If you thought blockbuster NBA trade rumors involving big-name players were in the past this off-season, think again. The Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings are rumored to be kicking the tires on a deal that would turn the NBA world on its ear.
According to FOX Sports, the Bulls may be contemplating a trade that would send Jimmy Butler, Robin Lopez, and Doug McDermott to the Kings for DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. If this swap actually goes through, it would be one of the most significant NBA trades in years.
Cousins and Gay have been on the trading block for months, as indicated by the many trade rumors they’ve been associated with during that time. Sacramento’s 2015-16 season was an epic disaster as the team went 33-49 during the regular season, tying Denver for 10th in the Western Conference standings. There were numerous reports of team dysfunction last season — players not meshing well on the court, and personality clashes between players, coaches, and management.
The Kings are looking to make changes, and unloading Cousins and Gay would represent a massive shift for a team that grossly underperformed in 2015-16. As talented as those two players are, they were both allegedly part of the team’s troubles last year, so moving them and starting fresh would seem to be a viable option for Sacramento.
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The Bulls thought they might be in a rebuilding phase after Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah were subtracted from the roster this summer, but then the team added Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade to their backcourt. In an instant, it appeared that Chicago was close to being a contender if they could make one more deal, as detailed by Forbes. The Bulls are now a buyer in the trade market since they should be able to make some noise in the Eastern Conference race in 2016-17.
There is a feeling among those around the league that Rondo, Wade, and Butler may not be an ideal threesome to lead the Bulls, and if the right deal comes along one of them could be dealt. Jimmy Butler is the only one of these players who is currently trade-eligible (per NBA rules), and he is arguably the most valuable of the three, as well.
Sacramento would acquire a major building block in Jimmy Butler, and two quality players to join their supporting cast in Robin Lopez and Doug McDermott. Butler is a legitimate NBA All-Star, who has blossomed over the last two years to become one of the NBA’s top all-around performers. Lopez is an underrated center who does all the “dirty work” inside, including strong defense, rebounding, physical play and toughness. McDermott is an outside shooting threat who is still coming into his own as an NBA player, but showed signs of breaking out last season when he shot an impressive 42.5 percent from three-point range.
The Bulls would essentially be replacing Butler with Rudy Gay, and that isn’t a terrible drop-off for Chicago. Butler is a better player and is on the rise, but Gay has been a prolific scorer (career average of 18.4 points per game) and solid rebounder in the NBA over the last 10 years. DeMarcus Cousins is one of the most talented and productive centers in the league, but he also brings a history of attitude problems and motivational issues along with his exceptional ability. A fresh start might be just what Cousins needs to put himself on the right path, and the Bulls would do well to bring him into a situation with a veteran leader like Dwyane Wade.
A monumental five-player deal between the Bulls and Kings is dominating the latest round of NBA trade rumors. Which of these teams do you think would come out on top if this trade is consummated?
[Photo by Andrej Isakovic/Pool Photo via AP Images]