How many future draft picks do the Chicago Bulls still own?

Since arriving in the Windy City, Arturas Karnisovas, President of Basketball Operations, has certainly not been shy about his decisions. He offloaded a wealth of draft capital to acquire stars like DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Lonzo Ball to restore the Chicago Bulls to a successful basketball team.

Unfortunately, these draft picks came with a whole host of caveats, safeguards, and thin text. That’s why I’m here, to help make sense of it all. Below are the draft picks projected to be available to the Chicago Bulls over the next five years, with explanations of how each pick ended up where it did.

After completing blockbuster trades for DeRozan, Vucevic and Ball, the Chicago Bulls must make the most of their remaining future draft pick stash.

Draft 2023

  • Portland’s First Round Pick (Lottery Protected)
  • Denver* second-round pick (protected 31-46, lapsed)

If the Bulls don’t make the playoffs this year and end up in one of the top four picks in the draft lottery, they retain their pick that year. However, this is unlikely. The Bulls traded away that pick to acquire Nikola Vucevic.

If the Trail Blazers make the playoffs, the Bulls get their first-round pick. Should 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 trade to Chicago. If it hasn’t happened by then, it becomes a second-round pick. The Bulls earned that pick in a three-team trade that sent Lauri Markkanen to Cleveland.

Chicago’s own pick for the 2023 second round belongs to the Lakers.

*As punishment for violating the NBA’s manipulation rules to sign Lonzo Ball, Chicago must lose its next second-round pick. If Denver finishes this season with a top-14 record in the NBA and the election comes, the Bulls will have to give up that election. Hopefully the choice mediates this season so we don’t have to worry about punishment in future seasons.

Draft 2024

  • Chicago’s own pick for the first round

If the Bulls jump into the top 4 of the 2023 draft, they instead lose their first-round pick in 2024.

Chicago’s 2024 second-round pick belongs to the Pelicans.

Draft 2025

If Chicago’s pick lands in the top 10, they get to keep him. If the pick is anywhere from 11 to 30, it’s moved to San Antonio. This selection was sent in the DeMar DeRozan deal.

Chicago’s pick for the 2025 second round belongs to the Spurs.

2026 draft

  • Chicago’s own pick for the first round
  • Chicago’s own second-round pick* (may expire)

The Bulls will only have their projected 2026 picks in subsequent years if they continue to make the playoffs as expected and deliver their 2023 first-round pick to Orlando and their 2025 first-round pick to San Antonio in a timely manner. If they fail to do any of these things, the schedule for each first-round selection will be pushed back a year.

*If the Bulls don’t get Denver’s second-round pick in 2023, they’ll have to forego their own 2026 second-round pick instead.

Draft 2027 (and beyond)

  • Chicago’s own pick for the first round
  • Chicago’s own pick for the second round

The Bulls will instead receive Portland’s second-round pick in the 2028 draft if they haven’t made the playoffs and submitted their first-round pick by the time the 2028 draft arrives.

There you have it. While there are a lot of tricks as to when these tips convey, this is the most likely and realistic way things should play out. Unless the Bulls somehow get lucky and get a top three pick of course, in which case I doubt anyone will complain.

In the next four drafts You can expect the Chicago Bulls to have three first-round picks. However, there are no guarantees that there will be second-round picks – depending on how well the Nuggets perform this season. The better Denver plays this year, the more likely it is that the Bulls will get their second-round pick in 2026. By 2027, Chicago should once again have access to all of its draft picks.

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