The Chicago Bulls team has an excess of guards and could afford to add to another position while significantly thinning down the current bunch.
Ayo Dosunmu, a third-year local product, was one of those guards who went from being a shocking second-round choice to an unlikely starter to practically being forgotten in the Bulls’ rotation. He has to compete with Zach LaVine on the wings and Alex Caruso, Jevon Carter, and Coby White at point guard.
The Bulls would be smart to find Dosunmu a new home with all the bodies.
“It isn’t hard to see the logic behind the Rockets taking a relatively cheap flier on a 23-year-old who’s shown enough promise to potentially join their long-term nucleus,” wrote Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report on October 19.
Bulls get: Jae’Sean Tate
Rockets get: Ayo Dosunmu
“Dosunmu impressed as a rookie, then regressed as a sophomore,” Buckley wrote. “But his defense and tenacity feel right in line with what Houston is trying to build.”
Dosunmu, who was chosen with the No. 38 overall choice in 2021, started 40 games as a rookie and finished the season leading the club with 77 appearances. But throughout the previous campaign, he mostly remained same as his three-point efficiency sharply decreased.
Dosunmu was twice substituted out of the starting lineup by head coach Billy Donovan, first for Caruso and then for Patrick Beverley. Nevertheless, this summer the Bulls signed Dosunmu to a three-year, $21 million deal. This preseason, he was one of the names identified as a candidate for the starting point guard position.
But White has seized control of the role potentially leaving Dosunmu fighting for minutes.
“Dosunmu could wind up checking a lot of the same boxes as Tate,” Buckley argues. “But the former has more room to grow his game going forward.”
Jae’Sean Tate would improve the depth of the Bulls’ frontcourt
Tate is in the second year of a three-year, $20.6 million deal and is almost five years older than Dosunmu. He left Ohio State as an undrafted free agent in 2020. The 6-foot-4 forward, who is 27 years old, is 30 pounds heavier while being the same height as Dosunmu.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 16, 2023
Compared to Dosunmu at guard, he is more suited to handle the bigger matchups he encounters at forward.
The Bulls could still need some experienced depth in this area.
At the forward positions, they have DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams. Chicago added Torrey Craig to compete with Williams for the starting power forward position, if not take it outright, and they also had LaVine play a lot of 3 in Donovan’s smaller lineups. They are thin beyond that, with Terry Taylor serving as the team’s lone other seasoned forward.
Planned Trades Will Be Determined by Bulls Start
At this point in the NBA schedule, it seems doubtful that the Bulls will trade Dosunmu. With the new deal, they have already shown their worth for him.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) October 20, 2023
But the regular season is already here, and clubs that get to this position usually wait until the campaign is over before making personnel changes. If the Bulls and Dosunmu in particular have a terrible start, the trade deadline in February would be a better target date for anything to happen.
In the previous season, Dosunmu averaged 8.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. For Houston, Tate had a line of 9.1/3.8/2.7. Last season, he only made 31 appearances due to injuries, although in each of his first two seasons, he made appearances in 70 and 78 games (77 starts).
This is more a question of taste and fit than skill, given both players were All-Rookie picks in their respective rookie seasons.