Here's the trade proposal.
Bulls give up:
- Nikola Vucevic
- Derrick Jones Jr
- Coby White
- Troy Brown Jr
- Matt Thomas
Raptors give up:
- Pascal Siakam
- Khem Birch
- Gary Trent Jr.
From a salary perspective, I believe this should work. You can't check it exactly in the trade machine since Trent can't be traded before 1/14, but if you use Anunoby instead (they make the same amount) it works. The Bulls add a bit under $9M in salary to their payroll, which get them to about $1M under the hard cap, just enough to still be players in the buyout market.
From the Bulls perspective:
I think Vucevic gets too much flak from folks but I do think the reality is that he's not the best fit on this roster. His passing and shooting are nice skills and make the offense flow better, but you can get that skillset from a lot of guys. His post skills are really being wasted on a team with so many good perimeter shot creators, and his defensive limitations put a ceiling on how good the Bulls can be on that end. On net, I do think he's a good player and we don't HAVE to trade him, but I don't think he's the best use of $24M for this team.
Meanwhile Siakam would be a much better third star here. His defensive skills fill a clear need for the Bulls, and I think he can do pretty much everything Vooch is doing for the Bulls offensively. He can shoot, pass, attack closeouts and create shots against mismatches just as well as Vooch. He can do damage in transition and is a really good fit from that perspective.
This leaves a void at C, but Birch is a decent enough big man to soak up some minutes. The Bulls can also get another big in the buyout market, and I'm envisioning a small-ball Ball/Caruso/LaVine/DeRozan/Siakam lineup to close games anyways. Longer-term I think it's a lot easier to find bigs who can plug in vs. two-way wings.
Trent provides a really solid 3-and-D option who's a big upgrade over Coby defensively. He's got a hefty contract, but he's still really young so still likely has some upside. He's not as good of a creator as Coby, but he can score a bit.
Bulls lose DJJ/Troy Brown who have been solid bench players this year, but the players coming back are better and both are pending FAs anyways. Losing Coby hurts a bit now that he's playing really well, but a player like Siakam is worth it, especially if we can keep PWill.
Post-trade, lineup looks like
Add a bought out vet or two and that's a nice deep roster which looks far more complete defensively without losing much of anything on offense.
From the Raptors perspective:
Raptors are in a bit of a middle-ground spot where they're not good enough to really contend, but want to stay competitive out there for the fans. They say they don't want to trade Siakam, so this may be a non-starter, but I think this trade does nice things for them.
First off, this trade clears a lot of cap space/money for the Raptors. They shed $10M in salary this year, with another $16M coming off the books in the offseason when DJJ/Brown/Thomas contracts expire. That gets them to be $30M under the cap.
Vucevic probably isn't the Raptors' dream player, but he can help keep them competitive, and they don't really have any good big men he'd be taking minutes from. Coby White is the jewel for them and a nice addition to their young core prospects alongside Anunoby and Scottie Barnes. Maybe not the best fit with FVV but they've made 2-PG lineups work in the past.
The question is whether Coby White, Vooch and $26M of cap relief is enough for Siakam or if they can do better, and honestly I'm not sure. Siakam's a nice player but his contract isn't exactly a steal, and how many teams are there that have the capacity to add a contract like that and can put together a better package? Warriors probably could make a run, but they might be content to stand pat.
Bulls might have to add some draft collateral to even things out, but think this is workable. If the Raptors want to hold on to Trent, you could take him and Troy Brown out. Raptors would then only get $10M cap relief.
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