Since last year, the Chicago Bulls have made significant improvements and have a shot at contending for the playoffs in Billy Donovan’s first year at the helm. Nobody expects the Bulls to make a deep run, but Zach LaVine astonishing growth could lead them to a brighter future. LaVine has blossomed into an All-Star and will need help to take Chicago to the next level. Whether his best possible co-stars are on his team or need to be brought in via trade or free agency remains to be seen, but the Bulls have to make some important decisions for their future ahead of the NBA’s March 25 trade deadline.
LaVine is averaging career highs in points (28.3), rebounds (5), and assists (4.9) per game while shooting 52.7% from the field and 43.8% from three. His video game-like efficiency doesn’t isn't enough to be competitive in the Eastern Conference. Coby White, Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter Jr. are still finding their way in the league, and Patrick Williams could turn into a valuable two-way player in time. Chicago could be a buyer or seller at the deadline, but pushing to make the playoffs now might be in its best interest.
Otto Porter Jr. is one of the league’s most desirable buyout candidates and probably won’t be dealt, but the Bulls have two power forwards who could attract multiple suitors. Exceptional finishing and playmaking skills have highlighted Young’s resurgent season, but moving him would deal a major blow to the Bulls’ playoff hopes. His expiring contract makes him especially enticing. Markkanen could end up being the better player when it’s all said and done, but he’s failed to live up to the hype so far and could help bring back a complementary piece in a trade. Chicago has been linked to the New Orleans Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball but adding him to the backcourt rotation doesn’t make the Bulls noticeably better with their current roster. The Bulls seem most likely to sit on what they have and deciding on the next steps in the rebuilding process over the offseason.