When the NBA playoffs take center stage next spring, the Chicago Bulls will all but certainly be amongst the teams fighting for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. But they may fall short of their title quest as currently constructed.
Fortunately for the Bulls, as well as the 29 other teams across the league, trading season has arrived. And the first call Chicago makes should be to the Detroit Pistons regarding the highly-underrated Jerami Grant.
The Chicago Bulls have a need for more size
One could argue the Bulls have a need everywhere after several players were placed in health and safety protocols over the last couple of weeks. But when everyone returns to full strength, Chicago’s most-pressing need will be a forward with some size.
The Bulls entered the season without a true power forward in the lineup. Instead, they had the 6-foot-7 Patrick Williams occupying that spot in the starting five. However, the 20-year-old Williams suffered a season-ending wrist injury just days into the new season.
This has forced Chicago to go with a starting lineup of four guards — Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Javonte Green — along with center Nikola Vucevic. Even Alex Caruso, the team’s sixth man, is a 6-foot-4 backcourt staple.
DeRozan has been the makeshift 4 in Chicago’s position-less lineup. But at 6-foot-6, he’s not a player equipped to hang with a more traditional big man.
Jerami Grant is one option to consider
As Chicago eventually scours the trade market, a division rival may hold the solution. Grant, now in his second year with the Pistons, would provide a significant upgrade for the 17-10 Bulls.
In 2020, the 6-foot-8 Grant inked a three-year pact with Detroit worth $60 million. He previously had stints with the Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Denver Nuggets, serving primarily in a bench role across six seasons. But as a starter with the Pistons in 2020-21. Grant scored a career-best 22.3 points with 2.8 assists per game.
This season was more of the same in Motown. The 27-year-old averaged 20.1 points in 24 starts, leading Detroit in scoring for the second season in a row. However, the former Syracuse Orange is out for the next six weeks after suffering a UCL ligament sprain in his right thumb.
Can the Bulls make a deal for Grant?
Even though the injured star has been an impact player for the Pistons, Bleacher Report confirmed Detroit’s intentions to trade Grant before this season’s February 10 trade deadline. The Bulls should be one of the teams interested in his services.
Grant, who has one year left on his contract for just under $21 million, won’t be cheap to acquire. So it will take a small sacrifice for Chicago to strike a deal for the talented forward.
For instance, the package going back to Detroit could center around Williams. At 20 years old, the former Florida State standout would play a big part in the rebuilding Pistons’ future. Williams, a serviceable veteran like Derrick Jones Jr., and a draft pick seems like a decent starting point for negotiations.
The Pistons star is a solid all-around player who offers size, scoring, and solid defense. Even though parting with Williams would sting, a trade for Grant would undeniably make the Bulls an Eastern Conference favorite.