I really hope the Bulls can get through the rest of this season unscathed. I know that’s a lot to ask, but the team has already had its fair share of COVID-19 related problems, and I’m desperate to see a normal and fully healthy stretch of new Bulls-basketball. Let’s hope tomorrow is a step in the right direction with Markkanen and Arcidiacono back on the court, and there is no turning back from there.
• For those of you who happen to live under a rock and only receive your basketball news from Bleacher Nation – which someone has to print out and deliver via horseback at dawn because rocks get horrible wifi – James Harden was traded yesterday. The former-MVP and 3-time NBA scoring champion gave the Rockets a final middle finger on Wednesday as the organization sent him off to the Brooklyn Nets – his No. 1 preferred destination. The NBA now has another super team in the mix, and all we can do is wait to see the ripple effects this blockbuster trade might cause. Relatedly, wherever there is such a massive deal struck, there also happens to be a hidden storyline … or two … or seven. There is a good chance the teams we saw in the mix yesterday (Rockets, Nets, Cavaliers, and Pacers) were not the only teams to pick up the phone. Were the Bulls even on hold?
• Considering how tight-lipped this new front office appears to be, I doubt we will get an answer to that question. However, if we did, it could be relatively substantial information. We know that the most likely scenario is that this front office does not keep this roster intact for that long. While they inherited a number of intriguing young pieces, an organizational overhaul typically comes with the new blood wanting to find their own players and implement their own vision. If Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley were even thinking about picking up the phone yesterday, it would give us a better idea of that vision.
• If the Bulls do not slowly have their name creep into the trade conversation over the course of this season, I will have my frustrations. While I’m glad this team is playing a more fun and improved brand of basketball, the goal is still to constantly improve. Chicago has several intriguing veteran assets to go along with their solid package of young talent. I’m not saying it’s time to sell the house, but it is time to buy some new furniture. How big do the Bulls go? We wrote yesterday about how the Harden trade, which also involved Victor Oladipo and Caris LeVert, helped send Zach LaVine’s trade value even further in the right direction. Add the fact that he is playing some of his best all-around basketball as of late, and I have no doubt the Bulls phone will be ringing off the hook (out of Karnisovas’ pocket? What should we say nowadays?).
How the James Harden Blockbuster Trade Can Impact the Bullshttps://t.co/O7kkuuxzDH
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 13, 2021
• I think some folks believe that I want to trade LaVine after writing that post, but it’s more complicated than that. The reason LaVine has to be at the top of the conversation is simply because he would net the best return. This whole thing, for me, is more about wanting the front office to change things to fit a new plan, and the biggest change they can make is flipping LaVine. If they can find a way to build a more successful team with him in the mix, so be it. But, we have to remember it is only a matter of time (one more season) until LaVine will be in the running for a major pay raise. Considered an expiring contract in store for a big deal after this season, there is a good chance his value will be at its peak by the deadline. The front office would not be doing their job if they did not keep that in mind.
• If LaVine finally gets over the All-Star hump this season (which I think looks very possible right now), though, a decision about his future could become that much harder to make.
Make no mistake…
Zach LaVine is playing like an All-Star. pic.twitter.com/m6n1O8R2R8
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) January 14, 2021
• Speaking of trades, ESPN’s Bobby Marks made a huge list of every restricted and available player for this season’s trade deadline. If you’re interested to know where a player you want stands, make sure to give it a look.
• Bulls fans were all pretty bummed when they learned Garrett Temple would be the only signing Karnisovas would make this offseason, but I think it’s fair to say the decision now deserves a round of applause. Temple has not only been a highly effective rotation player thus far, but he has been a much-needed experienced presence in the locker room. The Athletic published a great conversation with the veteran guard on Thursday, and it will surely give you an added appreciation for what he brings to Chicago.
• Lowkey, I’m excited to watch this Rockets team.
• Yikes with a side of yikes.
The NBA still has to decide on allowing the Wizards to play Sunday/Monday games in DC vs. Cleveland, but the chances of those games withstanding a postponement are fading. https://t.co/XrRe6saO9r
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 14, 2021