Since arriving at Windy City, President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas has certainly not been timid in his decision making. He unloaded a wealth of project capital to acquire stars like DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Lonzo Ball to make the Chicago Bulls a winning basketball team again.
Unfortunately, these draft picks come with a whole host of caveats, protections, and thin text. That’s why I’m here to help make sense of it all. Below are the draft picks you can expect the Chicago Bulls to have available to them over the next five years, with explanations of how each pick ended up where it did. do.
After making blockbuster trades for DeRozan, Vucevic and Ball, the Chicago Bulls will need to make the most of their future stock of remaining draft picks.
- Portland’s first-round pick (lottery protected)
- Denver second-round pick* (protected 31-46, will forfeit)
If the Bulls don’t make the playoffs this year and end up moving into one of the top four spots in the draft lottery, they’ll stick with their pick this year. However, this is unlikely to happen. The Bulls traded that pick to acquire Nikola Vucevic.
If the Trail Blazers make the playoffs, the Bulls will receive their first-round pick. If the Trail Blazers miss the playoffs, the pick will be pushed back a year and remain lottery protected. As long as the Trail Blazers make the playoffs by 2028, that pick will transfer to Chicago. If that hasn’t happened by then, he will become a second-round pick. The Bulls acquired that pick in the three-team trade that sent Lauri Markkanen to Cleveland.
Chicago’s 2023 second-round pick belongs to the Lakers.
* As punishment for breaking NBA tampering rules to sign Lonzo Ball, Chicago must give up their next second-round pick. If Denver finishes with an NBA top-14 record this season and the pick passes it on, the Bulls will have to forfeit that pick. Hopefully the pick passes on this season so we don’t have to worry about the punishment in future seasons.
- Chicago’s top pick
If the Bulls jump into the top four in the 2023 draft, they will instead lose their 2024 first-round pick.
Chicago’s 2024 second-round pick belongs to the Pelicans.
If Chicago’s pick ends up in the top 10, they can keep it. If the pick is between 11 and 30, he’s traded to San Antonio. This pick was sent as part of the DeMar DeRozan deal.
Chicago’s 2025 second-round pick belongs to the Spurs.
- Chicago’s top choice
- Chicago’s second-round pick* (can be lost)
The Bulls won’t have their projected picks until 2026 in the coming years if they continue to make the playoffs as planned and pass their 2023 first-round pick to Orlando and their 2025 first-round pick to San Antonio on time. If they fail to do any of those things, the time limit is pushed back a year for each first-round pick.
* If the Bulls don’t receive Denver’s 2023 second-round pick, they’ll instead be forced to give up their own 2026 second-round pick.
Draft 2027 (and beyond)
- Chicago’s top pick
- Chicago’s second-round pick
The Bulls will instead receive Portland’s second-round pick in the 2028 draft if they haven’t yet qualified for the playoffs and passed on their first-round pick by the time the 2028 draft arrives.
So. While there are a lot of intricacies in when these choices will pass, this is the most likely and realistic way things should play out. Unless the Bulls get lucky and receive a top-3 pick, of course, in which case I doubt anyone will complain.
In the following four versions, you can expect the Chicago Bulls to have three first-round picks, while not guaranteed second-round picks — based on how the Nuggets have performed this season. The better Denver plays this year, the more likely the Bulls will get their second-round pick in 2026. Starting in 2027, Chicago should once again have access to all of their draft picks.