The Bulls are a new team now as guard Zach Lavine has returned from a torn acl injury. About a month ago, the Bulls had Nikola Mirotic return, thus they finally have their core group of players healthy.
How Lavine Came to Chicago
Jimmy Butler has been great for the Timberwolves as a defensive leader and has been putting up strong numbers while playing alongside two players who score often in Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns. If Butler was still on the Bulls, he would be averaging close to 25 ppg. Justin Patton has not played for the Timberwolves.
Kris Dunn is averaging 14 ppg while Markannen is averaging almost 16 ppg. That is more than what was expected from both of them this season. They both have improved on the season. Although Lavine will help them in terms of individual scoring mismatches, overall their ppg will not increase with him. It will probably stay the same as Lavine will take minutes from Jerian Grant and David Nwaba. I expect Lavine to average about 15 ppg for the remainder of the season which will be in line with Dunn and Markannens average of 15 ppg.
In addition to Lavine, Dunn, and Markannen, Denzel Valentine, and Bobby Portis, are two young players the Bulls will probably hold on to for another two seasons. In addition, the Bulls will look to hold either David Nwaba or Jerian Grant, as a backup guard, but not both. The Bulls will look to get rid of Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday when they become free agents in 2019. The Bulls will look trade Mirotic before the 2018 trade deadline next month or let him walk this summer by not exercising the team option for the 2018-2019 season. The Bulls will need to look to add a small forward in the 2018 draft with the lottery pick that they will most likely have. In addition, they will look to add a star who can score 20+ ppg during the 2019 free agency.
Overall, the Bulls may have won the trade with the Timberwolves in the long haul as they got 3 pieces that are starters for the long-term by giving up a top-15 player. Now the Bulls will need to be smart in free agency and the draft during 2018 and 2019 as they get rid of bad contracts and attract star talent to go with their young core.
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