I don’t know about you, but I can’t go nine months without Chicago Bulls basketball.
While this year was a stinkfest that pushed many of us to the breaking point, not watching a single game from March to December is a tough pill to swallow – especially with a new front office in the mix (and, hopefully soon, a new head coach). For the first time in a long time, true optimism defines the future of Bulls basketball in Chicago.
Fortunately, executive VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas seems to understand this. In an interview with the media on Saturday, Karnisvoas made it clear that he doesn’t want to Bulls to sit on their hands over this extended offseason. Instead of just pumping some iron in the gym, according to Karnisovas, the organization is prepared to get creative and find some alternative ways to stay on par with their Orlando competitors.
“I think a combination of some team-oriented activities from some practices and possibly scrimmages, I think something like that. There’s going to be a lot of player development and individual work, but I also would like to see some team activity as well because there’s so much time away from the game of basketball. Just playing games, I would look for the league to see something like that, to simulate something like that this summer (via The Athletic).”
The Bulls are at a “competitive disadvantage” thanks to this early end of the season, and those are Karnisovas’ words, not mine. I’m sure the other seven teams who saw their season end last Thursday feel similarly, but this extended absence could prove especially dangerous for the second-youngest team in the NBA. Multiple vital developmental months are about to be ripped out from underneath the Bulls, and that’s a real shame for an organization with some newfound momentum. And while I know it feels like everyone on this team can still benefit from some extra, normal offseason workouts, it’s impossible to replicate the same lessons learned competing in a game environment.
The NBA knows this is the case, and that’s why they’re brainstorming ways for the Bulls and their fellow Orlando absentees to compete this summer. According to ESPN, the league office is weighing plans to allow joint-practices and televised summer league games. Additionally, teams want mandatory workouts throughout the summer and a longer training camp.
All of this sounds pretty darn reasonable, and I have to imagine the NBA signs-off on a more formal and universal plan sometime soon. After all, why would the league turn down the idea for some added television revenue over the summer? I know COVID-19 concerns are still very much alive, but if they can pull off a 22-team bubble, they can figure out some regional events for these leftover teams.
I think it’s safe to assume Karnisovas and his trusty sidekick Marc Eversley will push for all these ideas until they’re confirmed. As two guys who are gym-junkies and make a living off their good eye, the more this offseason can be spent with their team, the better this team could look in 2020-21.