The first pre-NBA Draft trade happened on Wednesday when the Detroit Pistons traded forward Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for a 2025 first-round pick. The Chicago Bulls had been tied to Grant as recently as the trade deadline but those talks were dead at this point.
While those trade talks of Grant to the Bulls might have been dead, his trade to Portland could still have an impact on the Bulls. As Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago explains the trade could result in a first-round pick for the Bulls in 2023.
That connection comes in the form of the future first-round pick the Trail Blazers owe the Bulls as part of the three-team Lauri Markkanen sign-and-trade completed in August 2021. The pick was originally reported as a 2022 first-round selection, but also as lottery-protected through 2028, meaning that if the Trail Blazers missed the playoffs — and, thus, fell into the lottery — they would retain the selection and transfer their debt to the following season (if not conveyed by 2028, the pick becomes a second-rounder).
Portland did just that in 2021-22, losing Damian Lillard to injury after 29 games, finishing the regular season 27-55 and landing the seventh pick in the draft lottery. The next chance the Bulls have of getting their first-round pick will thus come in 2023, but that relies on Portland making the playoffs.
The Blazers struggled this season as Lillard missed time with injuries and the team traded C.J. McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans. However, the Blazers have shown they plan to be aggressive in improving the team around Lillard this summer.
The first move was the trade for Jerami Grant which immediately helps the Blazers at both ends of the floor. There are also reports that Portland is trying to acquire Toronto Raptors win OG Anunoby.
The Blazers also own the seventh overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA Draft. If the team is able to trade for Anunoby it’s expected that the Blazers’ draft pick will be involved.
Beyond that, the Blazers also expressed early interest in Zach LaVine when the Bulls offseason got underway. Things have been quiet on that front recently, but the Blazers are definitely being aggressive this offseason and that could ultimately benefit the Bulls.
Bulls Draft Outlook
The Bulls are also preparing for Thursday night’s draft. Chicago currently owns the 18th overall pick and a number of rumors have surfaced about what the team could do with the pick.
The Bulls could use the pick to add a younger player that could help improve the roster like an E.J. Liddell or Tari Eason. Whatever player the Bulls select the pick could also be used in a trade to land an impact player like Rudy Gobert.
Whatever the Bulls decide the team is on the clock in terms of the offseason. NBA Free Agency will get underway on Thursday, June 30 and the Bulls have important business to take care of in trying to re-sign two-time all-star Zach LaVine.