Sunday, January 23, 2022

Bulls could make deadline play for multi-talented vet: Insider

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The Chicago Bulls may have one of the most complete rosters in the NBA, but there’s at least one area where they could benefit from a boost — or at least some stability. Namely, the front seat not occupied by MVP candidate DeMar DeRozan.

DeRozan was sensational in small ball sets as a foursome as well as on the wing. However, the position next to him was a situation in musical chairs.

For his part, former No. 4 overall winner Patrick Williams was expected to be the guy, but he lost for the regular season after just five games due to a wrist injury. Meanwhile, backup strikers Javonte Green and Derrick Jones Jr are also absent with injuries and neither is really a needle maker when it comes to a title.

Though Detroit Pistons star Jerami Grant and the Sacramento Kings’ Harrison Barnes have both been mentioned as possible frontcourt trade deadline solutions, a team insider has just name-checked another talented big man as a possibility for the Bulls.

For his latest dates-related feature, NBC Sports Chicago’s Rob Schaefer examined some power-forward options for the Bulls. As might be expected, Grant led his list of suggestions, followed by Barnes.

In third place, however, he went a little outside the box with LA Clippers forward Nicolas Batum, writing:

He further noted that Batum’s $3.2 million salary would fit within the $5 million trade exception created by Daniel Theis’ sign-and-trade. However, there are concerns about the luxury tax, and Chicago would also have to open a roster slot if there were no outgoing players.

Additionally, the Clippers are probably more inclined to move someone like Serge Ibaka. Still, Schaefer sees Batum as someone worth pursuing.

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While Batum was in the midst of a hot streak early in the season, fellow Clipper Reggie Jackson has raved about everything the 33-year-old brings to the table.

“Best offensive player, night after night, don’t complain…I don’t know how you could be a better guy or a better teammate,” Jackson explained. “For example, there’s nothing he can’t do – let the point run for us, score goals, shoot, take big shots, great defensive plays. If you have a guy like that with you in the trenches, you are blessed.”

Although Los Angeles has been limited by injuries this season – and even into 2020-21 – Batum has played a big part in the success the team has been able to achieve.

As of this writing, he’s averaging 8.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.8 total blocks and steals per contest. He also posts a career-best effective field goal percentage of 62.2.

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