If anybody knows anything about basketball? It’s that when change happens at the top, change will trickle down to the bottom. That is why when Arturas Karnisovas took over as VP of Basketball Operations, it felt like the clock had begun ticking on this current roster. The man spoke highly of current players like Lauri Markkanen and Zach Lavine. While he may mean that, it doesn’t mean the Bulls’ head man sees them as the focal point of what he wants to build.
That begs the question. Could he end up swinging some trades down the line? Anything is possible. If the Bulls were willing to trade Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, nobody in this organization is untouchable. Dan Favale of Bleacher Report warns that if the team wants to make a change, it’s in their best interest to do it now. He believes they should.
“Lauri Markkanen’s extension eligibility makes him a no-brainer target. The Bulls aren’t good enough to begin reinvesting in current players. (That could make for awkward negotiations with restricted free agent Kris Dunn.) Satoransky and Thaddeus Young are not part of the cornerstone discussion. Otto Porter Jr. (player option) is headed for free agency next summer and hasn’t stayed healthy enough to endear himself to Chicago’s picture.
That brings us to LaVine.
Borderline All-Stars on reasonable contracts (two years, $39 million) should not be flipped just because. But the Bulls have to consider how much he’ll cost in his next deal and whether they’ll be ready to contend by then. He can’t be untouchable, not when his trade value is at its peak—the sweet spot in which he’s not too old, is viewed as a quasi-star and won’t be a free agent for two seasons.
Chicago has the license to play hardball.”
Lauri Markkanen and Zach Lavine are talented but not focal points
There is no denying that both Markkanen and Lavine can play. However, neither can be called talents to build a team around. Both have notable flaws in their games that make them strong role players. Not stars. Lavine is a great scorer but comes up short on defense. Markkanen can shoot really well but is pretty weak in rebounding for a power forward. Obviously both might improve in those departments, but it’s hard to bet on that happening this far into their respective careers.
If Karnisovas wanted to jump start a rebuild, dealing them to contending teams makes perfect sense. He could probably get at least two 1st round picks and additional assets for them. That ammunition could be put towards finding that cornerstone to pair with Coby White who looks like a tremendous find after his strong rookie season.
Then again the Bulls may decide to keep the status quo and see if the two can develop more.