Running with the Bulls
As the deadline approaches, few squads have emerged as true sellers, but any single phone call could change a team's mind swiftly. The Chicago Bulls are on the verge of total collapse, making them perfect candidates for the Cavaliers to call up before Thursday's buzzer, Chicago's wealth of experienced veterans should entice the Cavs.
In this deal, the Chicago Bulls do not meet their reported asking price of two first-round picks in exchange for Alex Caruso, but both Isaac Okoro and Emoni Bates have shown potential to become foundational roleplayers for the Bulls' future. Additionally, a deal with three second-round picks gives Chicago opportunities to develop hidden gems in future drafts on team-friendly contracts. Few teams have control over tradeable first-round picks for the foreseeable future, making Caruso's price tag unreasonable and increasing the value of young players and second-round picks.
While Isaac Okoro is not developing into a league-altering prospect, the 23-year-old wing is a one-of-a-kind defender at the point of attack. Alongside Patrick Williams, Chicago's core would be one of the most defensively competitive in the Association. While many packages would deplete the Bulls' defense by losing Caruso, Okoro is already on the verge of earning All-Defensive Team honors. Rather than dealing Caruso for a chance to discover a cornerstone player in the draft lottery, Chicago gets a guarantee of proven young two-way talent with Okoro.
Emoni Bates has spent the vast majority of his first-year campaign with the G-League Cleveland Charge and is one of the league's premier scoring rookies. Cleveland's vastly improved forward depth and three-point shooting have kept Bates out of the nightly rotation, but he would have a chance to further his development with rotational minutes on the Bulls.
As for the Cleveland Cavaliers, does this deal make them championship favorites or leave them still wanting?