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Rumor: Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder in trade talks

Bulls aren’t done?

NBA: Playoffs-Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

With four days remaining before the 2018 NBA trade deadline, the Chicago Bulls have plenty of time to make additional moves to supplement their Nikola Mirotic trade last week.

It seems that front office executives John Paxson and Gar Forman are at least doing their due diligence. Per Chicago Tribune writer K.C. Johnson.

League sources said the Bulls and Thunder have engaged in talks with at least Tony Allen’s expiring deal involved. Grant has been available for weeks.

Tony Allen arrived in Chicago as an add-on in the Mirotic trade with the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday and ESPN writer Adrian Wojnarowski originally reported that the Bulls planned to waive the 14-year NBA veteran. However, it now looks like the Chicago Bulls will try to shop him until the deadline and if they can’t find a suitor first.

At 36 years old and battling minor injuries, Allen isn’t going to contribute much. His potential value to a contender looking to beef up their depth chart for the stretch run is his elite (although declining) perimeter defense. It’s easier to see no trade happening simply because a team can instead wait to pick Allen up on waivers or sign as a free agent if he’s unclaimed.

Particularly with the Thunder though, you can speculate on something bigger as they have such a top-heavy roster with real depth issues on the wing. The aforementioned Grant, Allen, or even fellow recent acquisition Jameer Nelson can be used as add-ons in a trade centered around Justin Holiday.

The Bulls can also offer the Thunder substantial payroll relief, as they are currently deep in the luxury tax. Their highest-paid players are key contributors and there really isn’t ‘dead money’ on the level of Omer Asik. But OKC would likely be more than happy with moving off of the money owed to Kyle Singler ($5m next season) and Alex Abrines ($5.5m next season), especially if they’re taking on Holiday and his $4.3m next year.

The problem with speculating trades with the Thunder though is that they don’t have many assets available. Due to previous deals they can’t offer a first-round pick until 2022. They do have two second-rounders in the 2018 draft but they are both currently past the 50th overall selection. Recent draftee Terrence Ferguson is intriguing, and we’ve seen GarPax spin ‘he’s like a first round pick!’ with trade returns before. Jerami Grant is also young and useful (and part of the NBA Grant family) though he’s an unrestricted free agent after this season.

The Thunder are clearly in win-now mode, so it may be even more difficult to get a contributing young player than a first-round pick. A low 2nd rounder isn’t really worth taking on 2018-19 salary (this would be a lot cleaner if they had expiring money to dump), though at least it would give the Bulls some picks after spending the last few years giving them away.