Either this next week is about to be crazier than a two-year-old on Five Hour Energy or shockingly underwhelming like that time I tried chocolate covered bacon (no, not everything is better with chocolate).
All of the recent trade rumors suggest that the former will be in play, but I could also envision a world where there is so much noise that it is actually too hard for teams to get anything done. The transaction moratorium was officially lifted at 11:00 p.m. CT on Monday, so it’s only a matter of time before we find out.
• If I do feel somewhat confident about one thing, it’s that the Bulls will not make any big splash today or tomorrow. Draft night offers the best opportunity for the new front office to make some kind of move. But, even then, I don’t expect an immediate, roster-changing trade. I have cautioned fans to expect a somewhat patient approach from Arturas Karnisovas and Co. since the beginning. Other than the two-week mini-camp that featured players who had not played 5-on-5 for several months, the new front office has not been able to get a real look at this roster. The Bulls still don’t know what they truly have in guys like Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Coby White, and (to an extent) Zach LaVine. Giving them a chance under a more competent management and coaching staff could prove worthwhile.
• At the same time, I might as well know less about this new front office than I do astrophysics. Karnisovas and GM Marc Eversley surprised the hell out of us with the signing of head coach Billy Donovan. Who’s to say they can’t do that again with some kind of unexpected trade. After all, it’s not like opposing teams do not have an interest in some of the Bulls assets. We learned last week that multiple teams have already called the Bulls about a potential Zach LaVine trade. Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo even reaffirmed that point by writing the following in his latest mock draft: “There’s some thought around the NBA that Zach LaVine could be had via trade as well, so his [LaMelo Ball’s] presence shouldn’t be an impediment.” To be clear, no one has reported that the Bulls have picked up those phone calls, but we also can’t necessarily assume they haven’t.
• We’ve also learned recently that Chicago may view Wendell Carter Jr. as more expendable than Lauri Markkanen, and that the Bulls have been “active” in trade talks for a veteran guard. Again, how much weight these reports hold is hard to say, but it’s noteworthy that more and more rumors keep surfacing about this team.
Bulls Reportedly “Active” in Trade Talks for a Veteran Guardhttps://t.co/QOdagFTc68
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) November 16, 2020
• We are two sleeps away from draft night (er, well, maybe you are … I’m not sure if I’ll sleep tonight). By the looks of it, the verdict remains out on what the Bulls will do Wednesday night. Deni Avdija continues to be the most popular name (which is relative, in this situation), but I’m not confident at all that he will be on the team next season. I still think it’s possible the Bulls surprise us by either stretching for a pick or trading down the board. We know the organization has worked out Tyrese Haliburton and Kira Lewis Jr. and both players are expected to go somewhere in the mid-to-late lottery. The question then becomes: Why not grab one of those players and a few additional assets by moving out of No. 4 spot?
• Another player the Bulls have been connected to in recent weeks has been Florida State’s Patrick Williams. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor was the first to report the interest, and ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has now followed suit in his latest mock draft: “Over the past few weeks, plenty of chatter revolving around the possibility of selecting FSU wing Patrick Williams has emerged.” All things considered, Williams is another player the Bulls could theoretically land in a trade down.
• NBA fans got word that James Harden may want to leave Houston for the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday night. That storyline has only picked up steam a day later, with The Houston Chronicle reporting that Harden wants out, and The Athletic’s Shams Charania tweeting that Harden has Philly also at the top of his preferred destinations lists.
Houston is fully comfortable keeping Harden and Russell Westbrook into the season.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 16, 2020
• I find it hilarious that Charania also shared a note about how Houston feels fully comfortable entering next season with both players on the roster. I know they’re under contract, but that’s not how today’s league works. If Harden and Westbrook truly want out, we can almost guarantee ourselves that they will be elsewhere next season. For the Rockets, I would look very closely at a possibly Philly deal. While Brooklyn may be able to offer a decent-sized haul, they can not send a player anywhere near as valuable as Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons.
• Welcome aboard, Billy III.
A short follow-up note to #Bulls’ staff announcements yesterday — they have also hired Billy Donovan’s son, Billy Donovan III, as a video coordinator.
— Cody Westerlund (@CodyWesterlund) November 15, 2020
• Whoa … 68 teams in one city sounds wild.