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Change Needed in Chicago: Breaking up the Big 3

Chicago went 0-4 this past week, and none of the games were really that close. Sitting now with a record of 5-13, I think it is time they look towards the rebuild route. The Bulls have tried to make a playoff push with the trio of Zach LaVine (22.1 PPG, 5.1 REB, 3.4 AST), Demar Derozan (21.5 PPG, 3.3 REB, 4.5 AST), and Nikola Vucevic (15.8 PPG, 10.2 REB, 3.1 AST) for the past couple of seasons. They have made the playoffs just once with this group and got embarrassed in the first round by Milwaukee when they did make it, 4-1. The experiment just never worked out. The reason for this is that none of them play good defense. According to Statmuse, Zach Lavine has a defensive rating of 117.9, Demar rating of 118.5, and Vucevic rating of 114.2. To put that in perspective, Jordan Clarkson of the Utah Jazz has the worst defensive rating in the league, with 123.0. They are always on the floor together to end games, and it doesn't help the team when none of them can defend in the 4th quarter. Now, this season, the starting lineup is statistically the worst offensive and defensive core in the league.

The Bulls would probably be able to get the best package for Zach Lavine. They must look for first-round draft picks and young talent they can develop. After that, they must look at dumping off Derozan and Vucevic. I don't see a scenario where they only trade Lavine. They are 5-13. If the record is already that bad, and the team is falling apart, we might as well let the young guys on the team develop so they can attempt to compete next year or in the future. Depending on how much Chicago gets in return for their big 3, they should decide whether or not they should trade Pat Williams. Maybe they try to blossom him into the star they thought he could be? His potential is off the charts now that he has added a 3-ball to his game (35% from three), but he hasn't been consistent. If he had the chance to be the focal point of this team with those three gone, I could see him becoming a valuable asset to the organization.

Trade Scenarios:

Zach Lavine:

Lakers receive: Zach Lavine

Bulls receive: D'Angelo Russell, Rui Hachimura, Jalen-Hood Schifino, and a 2026 1st-round pick

The Lakers are desperate for better guard play and need a legit 3rd option. D-Lo takes too many out-of-rhythm shots for the Lakers offense, and it looks like they'd be content moving him for a piece like this. This would open up the opportunity for Austin Reaves to run the point. He has expressed that he would like to do that more for the Lakers, and his job would become very easy with a trio of Lavine, James, and Davis. “I want to get back to playing point guard a little more and what we did at the end of the year,” Reaves said. “I feel comfortable and like I’m able to do that.” Rui would be a piece the Bulls could build around as he showed his true potential with Washington. They would need to add him to the deal for salary purposes. Plus, the Lakers have lots of depth at the forward position, meaning they can replace Rui with Wood, Vanderbilt, Prince, or Hayes. The Bulls would also get a 20-year-old guard who was tremendous in college and can defend at a high level. Sounds like a perfect fit for Chicago.

Demar DeRozan:

Heat receive: Demar DeRozan

Bulls receive: Kyle Lowry, Nikola Jovic, 2026 1st-round draft pick

Demar is in the final year of his contract, and this season would be the last chance to trade him. Additionally, the Heat have been looking for an upgrade since last year. DeRozan is still averaging 21.5 points per game and would be the spark Miami has been searching for. Kyle Lowry may not be the player he once was, but he is a great leader and mentor. Coby White, Jevon Carter, and Ayo Dosunmu could learn much from him and take their game to the next level. The Bulls also get Miami's 2022 first-round pick, Jovic. He is a skilled big man who handles the ball like a guard, can rebound well, and always finds the open man. He is frustrated with his role in Miami, and I think the Bulls would be getting a phenomenal player who can shine during their rebuild.

Nikola Vucevic:

Clippers receive: Nikola Vucevic

Bulls receive: Ivica Zubac, Bones Hyland, PJ Tucker

Vucevic would give the Clippers something they haven't had since Blake Griffin - a scoring big man. Zubac is a good rebounder (8.9 REB) and paint presence (1.3 BLK), but he doesn't score a lot (11.3 PPG, 0 3P%). This would add a dimension to the Clippers that could make them really scary since they recently acquired James Harden. The Bulls would get a good rebounder whose focus isn't on scoring first, like Vucevic. They would also get a very underrated guard in Bones Hyland. When Hyland has gotten minutes, he has made the most of them. He has played for the Clippers and Nuggets, who have both had lots of depth. Seeing the floor consistently has been hard for him, but he would get his chance to show his true potential in Chicago. PJ Tucker would also be another good mentor and locker-room presence. He seems to be admired by all of his teammates and could bring the intensity needed.

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