The Chicago Bulls haven’t had a real shot at an NBA championship since Derrick Rose’s injury in the first round of the 2012 playoffs. After Rose left his hometown team after the 2015-2016 season, the Bulls haven’t had a winning season and have repeatedly tried to find a coach and roster to bring them back to the top of the Eastern Conference.
Although the franchise’s future doesn’t seem too bright, there’s a dream scenario for next season that could bring excitement for basketball back to the great city. It will take some high-level work from newly hired general manager Marc Eversley and plenty of luck. But if done, the Bulls would be thrust back into their winning ways of the past.
Trade For Derrick Rose
Rose reinvented his game in the last two seasons and regained form as a scoring threat from the point guard position. He’s averaging 18.1 points and 5.6 assists per game off the bench for Detroit in 50 games this season while primarily playing the sixth-man role, according to basketball-reference, proving he can still be a productive primary ball-handler when called upon.
Chicago hasn’t had such a player since he left, with players like Kris Dunn, Rajon Rondo, Cameron Payne and others all failing to fill his shoes. Rookie Coby White and Tomas Satoransky showed promise this season, but Satoransky is better served as a backup and White’s game is currently that of a scorer instead of a guard who can initiate the offense. Rose would immediately provide the stability and playmaking at point guard needed to bring the best out of Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. and perhaps accelerate their development.
It’s unclear what Detroit would want in return for the 31-year-old former MVP who has one year left on his team-friendly contract, but the Bulls have some attractive assets. Dunn is still young and could shine in a new system if he can stay healthy. Otto Porter Jr. is on an expensive contract, but he’ll be in the last year of that deal next season, so perhaps Detroit would take him as a rental. Markkanen and Carter Jr. also look like they’ll be solid players for the next decade or so.
Sign Or Trade For Anthony Davis
This is the step that would prove much more difficult if the opportunity arose, but it’s feasible is Davis decided he won’t resign with the Lakers after this season. He has a player option that he’ll almost certainly opt out of after this year, and if he wants to leave L.A., he may want to go back to his hometown of Chicago.
The Bulls would need to move the contracts of Porter Jr., Thaddeus Young and probably another young player or two to make signing Davis to the max a realistic endeavor. They may also need to offer the Lakers a large package to trade for Davis if a sign-and-trade was the only way to acquire him. Other teams have more assets to offer, but if Davis deems the Bulls an attractive destination, that could improve their odds.
If all goes well, the Bulls could sport a core of Davis, LaVine, Rose and perhaps either Markkenen or Carter Jr. depending on if they were traded to the Lakers. The supporting cast would need to be re-tooled, but having a superstar forward, a dynamic scorer and stable point guard is a recipe for playoff success. That team might not beat the Bucks with Giannis Antetokounmpo, but it’d likely be a top-5 team in the East that could soon make a Finals run if the right pieces were assembled around the big-three.