Bold Moves Ahead: What to Expect from the Chicago Bulls in the Early 2024 NBA Trade Deadline

Bold Moves Ahead: What to Expect from the Chicago Bulls in the Early 2024 NBA Trade Deadline
Bold Moves Ahead: What to Expect from the Chicago Bulls in the Early 2024 NBA Trade Deadline

The Bulls are a team to watch during the trade deadline.

As the calendar year flips to 2024, a lot of eyes will be on the Chicago Bulls ahead of the February trade deadline. Though they’ve been playing better as of late, the Bulls are highly expected to be major players during trade season.

Though he just inked a massive five-year, $215 million max contract in 2022, Zach LaVine’s time in Chicago seems just about up. LaVine has grown disgruntled with the lack of winning in Chicago. His relationship with head coach Billy Donovan has also been on the rocks for quite some time now.

Meanwhile, other core pieces like DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, and Nikola Vucevic are also in the heat of trade rumors. DeRozan is on an expiring deal and could potentially walk away in the summer. Vucevic just signed a contract extension last summer, but with his value still high, it makes sense for the Bulls to cash in on him now. Last but not least, Caruso’s team-friendly deal makes him one of the most highly sought-after role players in the trade market

It will be interesting to see how Chicago will navigate the next two months. With that, here are some early predictions for the Bulls head of the 2024 NBA trade deadline.

DeMar DeRozan will be the first to go

NBA Insider Marc Stein reported a couple of weeks back that DeMar DeRozan and the Bulls are still “far apart” on a contract extension. Given the situation, signs are pointing towards Chicago trading the All-Star prior to the trade deadline.

While the spotlight has been on Zach LaVine, previous reports and rumors indicate that the Bulls are more likely to move on from DeRozan given his contract situation. His $28.6 million deal expires next summer and there is a possibility that Chicago could lose him for nothing. The Bulls are better off cashing in on DeRozan’s value and get some assets in return. With that said, a trade might be the best move for both parties. As such, DeRozan will be the first Bull to go ahead of the deadline.

Despite all the outside noise, DeRozan did say earlier this month that he remains committed to the Bulls. But given that he still doesn’t have a championship on his resume, it doesn’t make sense for the 34-year-old to stick around in a losing situation in Chicago. DeRozan may be better of playing on a more competitive team.

DeRozan reportedly prefers a trade to the Miami Heat or the New York Knicks, should the Bulls trade him before the deadline. But several other teams should express interest in the six-time All-Star. Among those teams include the Los Angeles Lakers, who are also expected to be major buyers at the deadline.

Given DeRozan’s situation, he will be the first domino to fall as Chicago commences its fire sale.

Alex Caruso will remain in Chicago

One player who will not be on the move from Chicago is Alex Caruso. The line of teams who want to get their hands on Caruso is going to be very long. But the Bulls reportedly have no intention of trading him ahead of the February deadline.

Should the Bulls make him available, however, Chicago will attach a very steep price on the defensive specialist. The Bulls are reportedly asking for at least two first round picks for Caruso and it’s hard to blame them for doing so. He has one of the most valuable contracts in the NBA today. Caruso is earning $9.5 million this season and $9.9 million next year.

That’s a bargain deal considering he is one of the best role players on and off the floor. Caruso, who made First-Team All-Defense last season, has long established himself as one of the elite perimeter defenders in the NBA.

Moreover, he has also become an efficient offensive player this season. He is averaging just 9.8 points, but he is connecting on 52.8 percent of his shots, including 44.8 percent from beyond the arc, good for a sky high true shooting percentage of 67.1 percent on the season.

Apart from his on-court impact, Caruso also plays a huge role for the Bulls off the court. He embodies the kind of culture that any team would want on its roster. He is a culture setter and he’s certainly going to keep this culture going regardless of what direction the Bulls head into after this season.

With that said, it makes sense for the Bulls to gatekeep Caruso from fellow contenders. He is still under contract next season, so they likely won’t be in a hurry to find the right deal for him.

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