Like the Raptors, the Bulls have been stuck in an awkward position over the last few years. After trading for Nikola Vucevic in March 2021, they’ve been pushed into at least trying to build a playoff team around him, Zach Lavine and DeMar DeRozan.
An unfortunate long-term injury to Lonzo Ball hasn’t helped matters, with no timetable on when the 25-year-old point-guard will return, if ever. They could address that issue by acquiring one of the best in the league in Lillard, but it will come at a cost.
Swapping DeRozan for Lillard is not only an upgrade on the floor, but they get the long-term security of the latter’s four-year contract rather than DeRozan’s expiring deal. Lillard, Lavine and Vucevic is an explosive offensive trio, although their defense would leave a lot to be desired.
That issue isn’t helped by losing arguably their best defender in Caruso, but at least they’ll be more relevant and should improve on a 40-42 record that saw them finish 10th in the Eastern Conference last season.
Paul’s contract may be bought out straight away, but at the same time he could be a quality veteran presence that could prove invaluable to new franchise star Scoot Henderson.
Kuminga is a former seventh overall pick who should still thrive with more opportunity, while Podziemski and the future first-round picks are assets that shouldn’t be sneezed at. Still, Portland will probably want more out of this.
DeRozan may not be the perfect fit for the Warriors, but neither is Paul and the 34-year-old should be an upgrade given his scoring potency. The franchise gave up some of that when they moved Jordan Poole for Paul, while DeRozan can also add a playmaking element that’s been much improved over his last few seasons.
Caruso is one of the league’s most valuable role players who will probably prove more impactful to this season’s Warriors than Kuminga or Podziemski. Again, it’s a move that costs the future for the now, although the protection on the future pick is a saving grace to an extent.