Young is a highly coveted trade target for contending teams, O’Connor notes. His contract is relatively team-friendly ($13.55MM in 2020/21, with a partial guarantee on his $14.19MM salary for ’21/22); he’s a veteran leader with plenty of playoff experience; and he’s having a nice year on the court, recording 12.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 4.4 APG on 60.9% shooting to go along with strong, versatile defense.
The Bulls have just a 16-18 record and could get a nice return for Young if they’re willing to sell, so rival teams are wondering if Karnisovas is trying to increase his leverage by saying the 32-year-old is off the table, per O’Connor.
Still, Chicago is tied for ninth in the East, putting the team right in the thick of the playoff race — Young has been a key part of the Bulls’ success, and the club would like to see its young players (especially Zach LaVine) get some postseason experience. As such, it’s no surprise that Karnisovas would be opposed to selling off Young for draft assets or other pieces that wouldn’t help Chicago in the short term.
The Bulls will have a challenging stretch of games to begin the second half, including contests this week against Philadelphia (Thursday), Miami (Friday), and Toronto (Sunday). If they start slipping down the Eastern Conference standings, they could become more inclined to be sellers at the March 25 trade deadline, but if they’re still in the hunt in a couple weeks, it will be difficult for suitors to pry Young away.