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Mock trade sees Bulls land James Harden in blockbuster deal

This past season, the Chicago Bulls season ended in disappointment. But rather than tearing things down, Arturas Karnisovas stated that they had no intention of rebuilding the roster, signaling that they would instead push forward and attempt to get back into the playoffs next year.

So far in free agency, their moves have helped that goal. They have re-signed Nikola Vucevic and Coby White and brought in Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig to help the team’s depth. But with the current state of their team, the Bulls project to be a first-round exit at best, barring more major changes to the roster.

In turn, Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report suggested a trade for Chicago that would see them land James Harden from the Philadelphia 76ers.

Mock trade sees Bulls land James Harden in blockbuster deal: The trade

Here’s the full outline of the proposed deal:

Bulls receive: James Harden, PJ Tucker

76ers receive: Zach LaVine, Patrick Williams

Mock trade sees Bulls land James Harden in blockbuster deal: Buckley’s reasoning for Bulls

Here is Buckley’s reasoning as to why the Bulls could be interested in this particular deal:

“For the Bulls, this is a chance to be competitive in 2023-24 while also clearing future salary-cap space for a potential rebuild.

“Harden is still one of the best playmakers in the NBA, breathing life into a Bulls offense that ranked just 24th overall with Lonzo Ball missing the season with a knee injury. With Ball once again projected to be out for 2023-24, Harden takes over as the team’s starting point guard, joining an opening lineup that features Alex Caruso, DeMar DeRozan, Tucker and Nikola Vučević. Chicago would still have Coby White, Andre Drummond, Torrey Craig, Dalen Terry, Jevon Carter and others off the bench as well.

“This trade removes LaVine’s remaining four-year, $178 million contract from Chicago’s books. Harden and DeRozan will both become free agents next summer, opening up $64.2 million worth of cap space for the Bulls in 2024.”

Mock trade sees Bulls land James Harden in blockbuster deal: Should the Bulls make this trade?

Buckley’s logic for this trade makes sense. Having one year of Harden and DeMar DeRozan together would be fun, and Chicago would probably make the postseason. Plus, they would rid themselves of Zach LaVine’s long-term money.

But giving up Patrick Williams to do that would be a massive loss. He’s the best young asset the Bulls have, and if that was the price, they should just run it back with LaVine and focus on Williams’ development.

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Story originally appeared on Lonzo Wire