After more than a year of rumors, the Bulls pulled the trigger on a deal, sending Butler and the No. 16 pick to Minnesota in exchange for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 selection. Conventional wisdom says the trade changes the course of both franchises, with the Wolves vaulting to contender status in the West while the Bulls embark on a rebuilding project.
It was remarkably similar to a proposal between the teams a year ago, and Chicago fans might have been much happier if the deal had been completed on draft night 2016. LaVine would have been more appealing before his season-ending ACL tear in February, and Dunn was considered the top point guard in the draft at the time. His stock has fallen considerably after a lackluster rookie season in which he averaged 3.8 points per game and shot 38% from the field.
A key for the Bulls was the seventh pick, which they used on Lauri Markkanen, a stretch four out of Arizona. Chicago was 26th in the league in 3-point percentage this season and needs more shooters to fit into coach Fred Hoiberg’s preferred offense. Bulls management has been criticized for surrendering the 16th choice, which Minnesota used to grab Creighton center Justin Patton, but the Wolves reportedly wouldn’t have done the trade without that pick.
If the Bulls are rebuilding, they still have a long way to go. Chicago will have a starting backcourt with a combined age of 66 if it brings back Rajon Rondo (31) to team with Dwyane Wade (35), who has already announced his intention to opt in for next season.
The Bulls have until Friday to make a decision on Rondo, whose $13.397MM salary for next season only has a $3MM guarantee through the end of June. If they opt to release or trade Rondo, the remaining point guards are on the roster are Cameron Payne, who spent much of his time in the D-League after being acquired in February, Jerian Grant, who was briefly handed the starting role this season, and Isaiah Canaan, a journeyman shooter. There’s also, Dunn, of course, and free agent Michael Carter-Williams.
If the plan is to build around LaVine and Markkanen, there are very few young stars on the roster to join them. Starting center Robin Lopez turned 29 in April, and Nikola Mirotic and Cristiano Felicio are both free agents.
So considering the current makeup of the Bulls’ roster, did they get enough for their franchise player? Please leave your comments below. We look forward to what you have to say.