Monday, April 22, 2024

Three Buyout Market Options Who Can Push Chicago Into The Playoffs

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The 9th-place in the Eastern Conference Chicago Bulls failing to complete a single transaction before the trade deadline was the news heard worldwide following Thursday’s 2:00 PM CST cutoff. Being only one of two teams not to make any moves, Bulls fans wonder if back-to-back seasons without any action at the trade deadline should cause concern. In a media address following the quiet deadline’s passing, front office leader Arturas Karnisovas was asked about the buyout market, to which he claimed they would be monitoring it closely for potential suitors. Let’s see who’s available and who might be joining the team for the last 26 games of the 2022-23′ season to hopefully turn the tide for a team still under the .500 mark nearly 60 games through the year.

Top Three Buyout Market Options

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook is the front-runner for joining the Bulls in the very near future. The nine-time All-Star and former MVP of the league was traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Utah Jazz, who have every intention of buying his contract out before March 1, making him still eligible to play in this year’s playoffs. His career 8.4 assists would nearly double anyone on the 2022-23′ Bulls team and could bring a pass-first aggressive playmaker to a team surrounded by slashing and shooting wing players.

Westbrook would be a polarizing hit-or-miss addition. He would not directly solve the Bulls’ main issue of three-point shooting, being only a career 30.4% shooter from deep, but he could open up opportunities for the rest of Chicago’s roster that has lacked a facilitator since Lonzo Ball’s injury over a year ago. Zach LaVine is one of the league’s deadliest catch-and-shoot three-point shooters, and Patrick Williams and Coby White are also significantly better off the catch-and-shoot than their pull-up shooting numbers.

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Patrick Beverley

In reports as recent as this morning out of Chicago, Patrick Beverley is the next name being checked in on by the Bulls. If Westbrook chooses the Clippers with his ex-teammate Paul George and is probably closer to a long playoff run than the Bulls, Chicago may pivot to the hometown journeyman known for his defensive tenacity and pest-like antics. While this is no headliner of a move for the Bulls, it would bring a toughness and veteran presence that the backcourt could certainly use.

The offseason addition of Goran Dragic has not been a failure, but he has not been the facilitator or mentor that Chicago had hoped for when bringing him in. Beverley would bring in playoff experience, defensive toughness, the grit that the young players have yet to develop, and a chip that the entire franchise could use at this point in the season.

“You’ve got to be able to have resolve to move through adversity…we’ve got to be able to fight through those things.”

Billy Donovan via NBC Chicago following loss

With the addition of this ten-year veteran, effort, care, passion, or fight would never be an issue and something he can hopefully shock-wave the rest of the roster to the same level of intensity. Vucevic followed Donovan’s words with Chicago needing to “Play every game like a must-win,” which again Beverley would bring that tone on a nightly basis.

John Wall

John Wall would be an interesting one for the Bulls. Similar to Westbrook, with less of an ego, Wall could provide facilitating at his 8.9 assists per game career rate, head and shoulders above anyone on the Bulls. While he’s only shades of the player he once was, Chicago only needs him to be a facilitator and distributor while LaVine and DeRozan continue their nearly 50 combined points per game scoring average.

Providing stable minutes at point guard could also mature second-year guard Ayo Dosunmu and create urgency for the former Illini point guard to perform consistently and earn the future of the position for Chicago. With plenty of All-Star and playoff experience, Wall would have to be willing to surpass more cemented contenders to sign with the Bulls.

Why Chicago?

The main issue with these candidates coming to the Bulls is the borderline pathetic season that Chicago is having. One of the worst ‘clutch-time’ records in the NBA, having only built three-game winning streaks four times this entire season and zero streaks of four or more, and sitting in 9th place in the weaker Eastern Conference doesn’t precisely entice free-agent talent to sign on for a ride that could very well end short of the postseason altogether. Still, especially in Westbrook’s case, who’s recently felt like the outcast since joining the Lakers, Chicago thinks they can reel one of them in.

Adding in constant murmurs about a possible overhaul this off-season, a recently signed max-player who’s rumored to not see eye-to-eye with his head coach, and their best player who’s not getting any younger at 33, it would be much safer for any buyout candidate to sign with the likes of the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, or Miami Heat for the remainder of the season, leaving Chicago in the dust.

Who do you want to see in a Bulls uniform for the remainder of the season? Vote below!

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Lynn Todd
Lynn Todd
Feb 13, 2023 6:04 pm

Why and get swept

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