There’s been a bit of steam to the rumors that someone ahead of the Bulls is open to trading down. Draft Express mentioned the Bulls among teams interested in the Grizzlies’ #4 selection, among a half-dozen others.
The Bulls have some assets they’d likely be willing to move to move up, whether it’s #22 this year, a future first (they own all of their own) or a young player under contract like Bobby Portis. I find it hard to believe Doncic wouldn’t be just taken by Memphis if he makes it to #4, but perhaps the Bulls are looking towards Mo Bamba. DX mentioned in this morning’s mock draft update that the Bulls “would love to draft a big man who complements Lauri Markkanen”
The Bulls also have financial assets to use. While they couldn’t absorb Chandler Parsons’s entire $24m salary next year (plus Parsons in particular has 2019 money that would effectively take the Bulls out of free agency that offseason), they do have a little over $10m in cap room right now to use to make up salary-matching. That could’ve been a bit more if they weren’t gifting away roster spots to hit the salary floor. Technically they could also (and are more likely to) use a nearly $9m Trade Exception, though that can’t be combined with a Bulls player outgoing in the same trade. A less extreme example than dealing with The Grizzlies and Parsons is maybe facilitating a deal with the Wizards and their #15 selection.
(note: on 7/1 the cap year will turn over and the Bulls will have a lot more cap room, though historically the ‘agree to draft now and financially do deal next week’ trade rarely happens and I don’t think ever for a pick this high. The Hornets/Nets trade Wednesday did but that was for a 2nd rounder)
And there’s that sweet, sweet, cash! Just last night the Lakers acquired the #39 pick from the Sixers. Philly received cash...but also a 2019 second rounder. You can do that?!?! Coincidentally that 2019 pick originally belonged to the Bulls.
The Bulls received the maximum allowable cash last year in selling their 2017 pick, and have already received the max allowed this fiscal season after their two deals with New Orleans during the season.
Perhaps if the Bulls do use another pick to trade up, and buy themselves back into the second round. Paxson will then say it was only possible because of selling the 2017 second rounder (they were rebuilding, lol), which is a total lie. But that lie would be buried under the big story if the Bulls somehow buy their way into the top-4 tonight.