The playoff series loss to the Milwaukee Bucks was an eye-opener for the Chicago Bulls. It let them know just how far away they are from even being in the conversation for a championship. Sure, health played a big factor in the poor showing. Lonzo Ball was out for the season with a knee injury. Zach Lavine was playing on one knee as well. The team wasn’t 100%, and the Bucks took full advantage. However, there was a more significant issue at play. Just how dominant their rivals were in the paint. It was embarrassing at times. This would explain Chicago’s sudden interest in Rudy Gobert.
Milwaukee owned them on the boards in that series, outrebounding them 208 to 183. It was even worse defensively as their frontcourt pretty much took the Bulls to school on the offensive end. Nikola Vucevic was exposed way too often. As valuable as his scoring can be at times, his limitations in the traditional roles of a center were lacking. Gobert would be an instant upgrade in both departments. He averaged a career-high 14.7 rebounds per game last season and 2.1 blocked shots. At 29 years old, he’s already a three-time Defensive Player of the Year.
He could be the missing piece for this roster.
Having an interest in him is one thing. That seems to have upgraded. According to insider Matt Moore of The Action Network, he stated on the Locked On Nuggets podcast that the Gobert-to-Bulls buzz is not only real but very serious.
“No surprise, they’re trying to stockpile assets for the Gobert trade, which by the way, kind of the expectation around the league at this point is Gobert is going to go to Chicago. That’s like, what I’ve heard.”
Rudy Gobert is exactly what the Bulls need.
They have scoring already. Lavine, DeMar DeRozan, and Lonzo Ball should handle that. What they need is more of a presence down low. Gobert is every bit of 7’1 with a ridiculous wingspan. Getting shots over or around him is a constant hassle, and he plays a physical brand of basketball this team too often lacked last season. If they want to slug it out with the powerhouses of the East like Milwaukee, Miami, and Boston, this is essential.
It comes down to the price tag they’ll have to pay. Arturas Karnisovas won’t’ be able to land him for cheap. One can safely assume it’ll cost some variation of draft picks, Vucevic, Coby White, and other possibilities. The trick will be pulling off a deal that doesn’t cripple the Bulls’ future. If Rudy Gobert becomes a reality, then this team might be one more good shooter away from making a run at the Finals.