The Chicago Bulls are a team that could be on the cusp of contention. They have solid players like Coby White and Zach LaVine and could be ready for a statement season. They need some help and guidance to make the playoffs: veterans are an important part of a team's culture, and young players benefit from their veteran players having years of experience. Young players can learn a whole lot about winning through players that have actually won, and led their teams on playoff runs.
The Detroit Pistons look like they are entering a rebuild. They have two former All-Stars on their roster, Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin. Both of those players are experienced players who are entering a new stage of their career. They were once the centerpieces of their own franchises, with both being on top of the world. Both of them have had to change their playstyle to adapt to the NBA post-injury, but are still elite players. If the Pistons were to make a deal with the Bulls, here is what a potential trade would look like.
Chicago Bulls Receive: Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose
Detroit Pistons Receive: Otto Porter Jr., Lauri Markkanen
The Pistons Get A Talented Young Big Man
His sophomore year, Lauri Markkanen was touted as the next big thing in the NBA and was considered someone who could develop into an All-Star like Kristaps Porzingis. During the 2018-19 season, Markkanen was averaging 18.7 PPG with 9.0 RPG, while shooting 36.1% from 3PT range. Those are elite numbers for a second-year big man. However, he regressed next season, and his stats pretty much went down in every category. The reason for that was some awful coaching from former Bulls head coach, Jim Boylen. However, with a competent coach like Billy Donovan, Markkanen has shown signs of bouncing back.
Otto Porter Jr. is an expiring contract, which could appeal to a rebuilding team. Blake Griffin will likely accept his player option this year, and trading him could save the Pistons from paying a hefty salary for a year. Aside from the contract situation, Porter Jr. is a player who can defend and space the floor at an elite level. He isn't a star, but the 3 and D ability that he brings to the table is useful to any team in the NBA. Porter shoots 40.4% from 3PT range for his career: a marksman of his caliber is worth it as an expiring contract. If he does well, the Pistons could probably negotiate an extension as well. Both of the players that the Pistons would acquire have useful skillsets that are intriguing, and Markkanen in particular offers a huge deal of hope for the future. The Pistons could take a risk on a big man like Markkanen and hope that with a more prominent offensive role, he can get back to the level that he once showed.
The Chicago Bulls Make A Push For The Playoffs
The Chicago Bulls have an All-Star caliber shooting guard in Zach LaVine, who is about to break out as a full-fledged superstar. LaVine is a three-level scorer who can make the most absurd shots, and his scoring potential should have a team salivating to build around him. With this trade, the Bulls would bring in two players who can take some of the pressure off of LaVine. Derrick Rose is a solid 6th man, who can start on some nights. Rose has a history with Chicago: he won an MVP there and was part of many iconic playoff runs. Now, he's a point guard who can be a mentor to young players, and on the Bulls, he could help out Coby White. Rose can be a contributor to any team as a starter or off the bench.
Blake Griffin went from being able to dunk on everyone inside, to being one of the best floor stretching PFs in the league. Griffin's last fully healthy season was during 2018-19, and during that season he shot 36.2% from 3PT range on 7.0 attempts. That's a solid mark for a power forward. He was injured for a long time during the 2019-20 season, but through the start of the 2020-21 season, he is shooting 39.4% from 3PT range on 8.3 attempts. It seems as if Griffin is focusing on the skill that will give him longevity in the league: shooting from beyond the arc. Despite his hefty contract, he is still a capable player and would be able to take on a smaller role on the Bulls, further increasing his ability to stay in the league, lessening the wear and tear on his body.
This trade is a high-risk, high reward trade. The Bulls would trade away a promising prospect, but there are some concerns about Markkanen as well. Markkanen hasn't played more than 60 games a season since his rookie year, and the Bulls would also have to give him a big contract as he is a restricted free agent after the season. While Rose and Griffin are also injury prone, they offer a higher ceiling for the team, as compared to just Markkanen. If the Bulls believe in the future potential of Coby White, Zach LaVine, and Wendell Carter Jr., then two elite borderline All-Stars could push them to a postseason run.