Thursday, February 29, 2024

Chicago’s Plans After A Third Straight Silent Trade Deadline


The Bulls’ front office is skating on thin ice and continues to be disappointing. Today marks the third consecutive trade deadline without a deal done in Chicago, despite an 82-91 standing from Lonzo Ball’s injury three seasons ago and only one postseason appearance, winning one game in the first round. Had Zach LaVine not opted for season-ending surgery on his right foot, this conclusion of the 2023-24 trade deadline may have been different. Still, Arturas Karnisovas and company chose continued mediocrity. After five trades in his first five months, this will extend his 42 months with only one trade since. Where do the Bulls go now, and how does the front office see this season panning out?

False Hope From A Miraculous Comeback

The Bulls’ front office has a new favorite trend in the last few seasons: to take an obscure statistic or single-game result and apply it to a season-long theory. Last season, their league-leading defensive rating kept them from making any trades, even though the team was at the bottom of the NBA in three-point shooting and offensive output. This year, it’s the result of one 23-point comeback two days ago against one of the NBA’s top teams that was enough evidence of competition to keep from answering any potential trade calls.

Had Chicago laid down and lost this game, or Coby White not poured in 30 points in the second half, today’s results would be different. Andre Drummond would’ve been moved at the minimum, and DeMar DeRozan or Alex Caruso could’ve likely followed suit. As DeRozan said earlier last week, they believe they’ve got the talent to compete with anyone across the league, and the home win against Minnesota proved that.

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Remaining Competitive

Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed this morning on The Woj Pod that Chicago’s goal this season is to remain in contention. They were unwilling to trade for anything that would not immediately contribute to this season’s success, putting a damper on any potential deals this week. Most teams with a 47.3% winning rate over the last two and a half seasons, currently sitting ninth in the Eastern Conference, without their best player for the rest of the season, would not opt to remain competitive but rather reload and gain assets for the future. Karnisovas’s group believes this current roster, without LaVine, can stay in the race.

“I think it’s harder for Chicago to do some of these deals with contending teams because they want players back. They’re not looking to get draft assets and expirings. They want to reboot this on the fly. They want to stay competitive.”

Adrian Wojnarowski via The Woj Pod

How exactly does Karnisovas define “staying competitive”? With one playoff win under his belt through four seasons in Chicago, it’s time to question his perspective on winning basketball and a successful franchise. DeRozan and Drummond are now set to be unrestricted free agents this summer and have yet to agree on the terms of an extension. LaVine’s value is at an all-time low, and Patrick Williams is also headed for restricted free agency in a few months.

This failure to pivot in any direction over the last week tops the list of head-scratching decisions made by this front office group, and another season of missing postseason basketball may end in a severely new leadership group very shortly.

Is the AKME era nearing GarPax levels of embarrassment for the Chicago Bulls?


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Feb 8, 2024 2:33 pm

Bring back Tom Thibideau!

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