Zach LaVine wants out of Chicago, the Bulls are finally open to the idea, and while there is interest in the two-time All-Star other teams are hesitant because of his massive contract.
However, as hinted at in reports here at NBC Sports, there is a lot of interest in other Bulls if Chicago decides to blow up this roster (which their wobbly 5-10 start suggests should be coming). Marc Stein got specific about that in his latest subscriber newsletter.
The two Bulls generating the most November trade curiosity from rival teams?… 1. Alex Caruso… who as we've previously noted would have a double-digit list of trade suitors if the Bulls decided to make him available (which they haven't). 2. Patrick Williams… who still intrigues various teams despite his extremely underwhelming start to the season after the former No. 4 overall pick and the Bulls did not come to terms on a contract extension before the Oct. 23 deadline for Class of 2020 first-round picks.
There is no doubt Caruso — an elite perimeter defender shooting 50% from 3 this season who is under contract for a team-friendly $9.9 million next season — would have a long line of suitors if the Bulls make him available. To be clear, other teams are calling Chicago but that is very different from Chicago being ready to move on from Caruso.
Stein somewhat downplays the interest in DeMar DeRozan, although NBC Sports has heard that specific teams — playoff teams — would have interest if he is made available. That said, part of the attraction is the 34-year-old is on an expiring contract and can contribute now but is not a long-term commitment. The bids for him as a rental would be lowball, but the Bulls would hear from teams.
Patrick Williams is an interesting name. The fourth-year forward is a player the Bulls hoped would become a cornerstone for them but has not developed into anything near that. This season has felt like a step back with him averaging 5.8 points a game on 33% shooting and a G-League level 7.9 PER. Stein says teams are interested but this would be more like vultures looking to swoop in and get a free meal — trade a struggling player with potential at a very cheap price and see if a change of scenery alters his trajectory. Other teams are looking at a low-risk, high-reward scenario, but if Chicago doesn't plan to re-sign him maybe trading him for something is better than letting him walk for nothing.
The real key here is to expect the Bulls to be patient. Any deals certainly don't come before Dec. 15 (when most players signed this summer can be traded) and are more likely closer to the Feb. 9 trade deadline. Bulls VP of basketball ops Arturas Karnisovas has been very patient up to this point and that's not suddenly going to change now. That said, there is too much smoke to ignore.