Report: Lakers internally discussed DeRozan, Vučević trade originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
We are just over a quarter of the 2022-2023 NBA season. But the rumor mill is already running at full speed.
And according to a recent report by ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Bulls are involved.
On the latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast, Lowe noted in a conversation with Kirk Goldsberry that the Los Angeles Lakers have been having “internal discussions” about exploring a trade with the Chicago Bulls for DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević if the opportunity arises. occurs.
“I can tell you 100 percent for sure that the Lakers have had internal discussions about that opportunity (acting for DeRozan and Vučević) if it ever came,” Lowe said. “Not that they (the Lakers) would do it, let me be clear. Just look around the league, as any responsible team would.”
This follows The Ringer’s Bill Simmons making waves by tossing out a hypothetical trade offer to his podcast listeners earlier this week, in which the Lakers would receive DeRozan and Vučević, and the Bulls would absorb Russell Westbrook’s massive expiring contract, plus the first round picks in 2027 (unprotected) and 2029 (top-five protected):
The distinction important to make in Lowe’s reporting is that the Lakers’ discussions have only been internal and not final as they consider a number of potential trade routes. With no evidence to suggest the Bulls are in trade talks, this doesn’t make any breaking news from Chicago.
Besides, the Bulls, even though they had a disappointing 9-12 start, have given every reason to believe that they believe in the core they have assembled.
In the 2022 off-season, the front office saw great continuity, expanding the head coach and adding only marginally – Goran Dragić, Andre Drummond – to the core that won 46 games and broke a four-year playoff drought in 2021-22 (even if that berth resulted in an uninspiring five-game defeat by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round).
Twenty matches and change against one of the toughest schedules in the league probably won’t turn management’s beliefs completely upside down, especially considering the Bulls would need to fall in the top four of the 2023 lottery to hold onto this year’s first round, which is courtesy of the Magic as part of their trade for Vučević in 2021.
But maybe if the season spirals, or if the long-anticipated return of starting point guard Lonzo Ball doesn’t materialize, maybe that belief will wane and the organization will try to turn around.
Sure, the assembled group hasn’t yet proven itself capable of contending for a championship – even though the franchise owed itself three future first-round picks and pushed its top sheet to the edge of the luxury tax to put it together .
There are also ticking clocks that make a change of direction now wise, from Vučević’s expiring contract to DeRozan, whose contract expires after 2023/24, who is eligible for an off-season extension and has good trade value.
Plus, for what it’s worth, a hypothetical Lakers bid would be an intriguing opportunity to add unprotected or lightly protected first round picks in what will likely be that franchise’s post-LeBron James era – valuable assets for a rebuild, albeit far in the future.
However, it’s early for anyone – even those closest to the situation – to predict which direction this Bulls season will eventually turn.
But it’s never too early to switch off the trading machine. And such rumbles as those above are logs upon the fire.
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