With the Golden State Warriors reeling, it seems that anything is possible. As Steph, Klay, and Draymond prepare for their return next season, it is evident that the 3x Champs (even with these guys healthy) likely don’t have enough to overtake the other Western Conference powerhouses. If they wish to re-gain their status as Championship contenders next season, they will likely need to make a significant move.
With D’Angelo Russell’s fit already in question, it seems likely that he will be the key to any future roster changes. Fortunately for Golden State, as a young, 20+ point per game scorer, Russell is one of the most coveted assets in the league.
Among the most interested parties would no doubt be the team who has long searched for a star-caliber point guard: the Chicago Bulls. Since the departure of Derrick Rose, Chicago has been rather weak at the point guard position and, with the Kris Dunn experiment a bonafide failure, any solution for an upgrade at that department will have to come from an outside source.
Needless to say, the Warriors provide the Bulls with an easy fix to the problem they’ve had for years, and the window may not be open for long. But are they willing to sacrifice their own young talent to get the job done?
Because Golden State needs frontcourt depth, they will be looking for a package that fills their needs. In other words, Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter Jr. will be the ideal return for them.
Consider this: Otto Porter Jr. and 22-year-old Markkanen for D’Angelo Russell, Kevon Looney, and a future 2nd round pick.
While Porter and Markkanen are not in the same class as DeMarcus Cousins or Kevin Durant, they should be quality complimentary pieces next to Steph, Klay, and Draymond. Lauri has struggled so far this season with the Bulls, but he might flourish alongside shooters and a smaller spotlight in Golden State. Porter Jr. will add some much-needed talent at the wing and is a good two-way player to start alongside Klay and Draymond. Combined, the two might be enough to make the Warriors a title favorite in the West.
For the Bulls, the acquisition of Russell may be the missing link this team needs. As a first-time All-Star last season with the Brooklyn Nets, he would significantly increase their production in the backcourt. With Zach LaVine, Thad Young, and Wendell Carter Jr., it might just be what they need to launch them into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Obviously, the Bulls are not the only team with interest in D’Lo. With his age, modernized skillset, and unclear status with the Warriors, there are a number of teams expected to make an offer for Russell if he becomes available, including the Timberwolves, Suns, and Knicks.
But with what Chicago has to offer, they might be the best suited to make a deal for the young point guard. Expect them to be increasingly aggressive in trading for him as the NBA’s annual deadline draws near.