As rumors grew about Hull’s discussions with the WHA’s Winnipeg Jets, Cooke, who always thought big, thought really big. Wirtz owned the Stadium where the Bulls played and was in the process of securing a majority stake in the franchise itself. The Bulls were averaging only about 11,000 per date in Chicago, and the Kings desperately needed a marquee player in Los Angeles.
Instead of tempting fate by allowing The Golden Jet to escape the NHL and provide the WHA instant traction, Cooke had an idea: He would trade superstar Chamberlain to the Bulls, and Hull would join the Kings. That would help both teams and both leagues, and might doom the WHA before it ever established credibility.