Bulls Trade Watch: Domantas Sabonis

During the 2021 NBA off season, the Chicago Bulls front office of Marc Eversley and Artūras Karnišovas dramatically changed the face of the franchise. They acquired Lonzo Ball, one of the leagues best point guards, and all-star small forward DeMar DeRozan. The two new Bulls were brought in to fit with franchise player Zach LaVine and all-star center Nikola Vucevic.

Second year power forward Patrick Williams was expected to start at power forward. Los Angeles Laker and NBA champion Alex Caruso was brought in to be the sixth man. Guard Coby White and draft pick Ayo Dosunmu would provide energy off the bench.

The plan was thin in one area – power players. Although he had shown signs of excellence in his rookie season, Williams was still fairly untested in the NBA. Then, he got injured and shelved for the season. Suddenly, it’s apparent we don’t have a backup power forward to take his place.

The Bulls off season makeover was meant as a step towards building a championship contender. However, something interesting has happened. Despite not having a power forward on the roster, the Bulls are in the talks of being a serious title contender this season.

Of course, to seriously compete for a title, the Bulls will need to add one or two big bodies. There has been no shortage of rumors for potential trades to shore up the Bulls frontline.

The name that I like is Domantas Sabonis, an all-star big man carrying the Indiana Pacers on his broad shoulders. I’ve been a fan of his since before he was even in the NBA.

In my youth, I was a big fan of Domantas’s father Arvydas Sabonis. Arvydas is considered the best big man to ever play in Europe. He led the USSR Olympic team that beat David Robinson’s US team for the gold medal in 1988. After Lithuania gained its freedom from the Soviet Union, Arvydas led the small country’s team to bronze medals in 1992 and 1996.

The 7’3” Arvydas didn’t play in the NBA until he was 30 years old, an age more associated with retirement in professional sports than launching a rookie career. Even though he was on the downside of his career he was still runner up for both sixth man of the year and rookie of the year that season.

At 6’11 Domantas has a lot of his father’s height. He also has his father’s craftiness. He is a very smart and resourceful player. He has great court vision, knows how to establish position on the offense, can block or alter shots in the paint, and is a terror on defense and rebounding. Plus, he has the agility and strength of youth.

I would love for the Bulls to put together a deal to bring Domantas to the team this year to compliment LaVine, DeRozan, Ball, and Vucevic, but I don’t see the team having the assets to interest Indiana. Outside of Caruso, White, and Dosunmu, the Bulls don’t have any attractive pieces.

I admire the Bulls bench players, but you can’t teach size and polishing a stone won’t turn it into a diamond. So, I don’t see a deal in the making.

Then again, I’m not an NBA GM. Bulls general manager Marc Eversley and executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas have pulled off some deals that have surprised and impressed me.

It is interesting to note that Karnišovas played on the bronze medal Lithuanian Olympic teams in 1992 and 1996 alongside Domantas’ father Arvydas. Sometimes it’s the little connections that end up making a world of difference.

Peace. Love. Trust.

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