Pack it up, folks.
One night after losing to their tanking trade partner, the Orlando Magic, the Chicago Bulls have gotten some potentially season-ending news. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report that All-Star Zach LaVine will enter the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols and is out indefinitely.
Chicago Bulls All-Star Zach LaVine is expected to miss several games after entering into the league's health and safety protocol, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 15, 2021
NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson confirmed the news, also reporting that while it’s unknown how long LaVine will be away from the team exactly, that he is expected to miss at least several games.
Sitting 1.0 game ahead of the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards for the final play-in spot, and already on a four-game losing streak, it sure feels like this will put the final nail in this season’s coffin. Perhaps the team can surprise us (or LaVine can make a quicker-than expected return), but considering they still have the 8th-toughest remaining schedule (per Tankathon), a LaVine-sized hole is likely enough to do this team in.
Even if this team does embrace the tank now, we should remember that the Bulls sent their first-round pick in their year’s draft to the Orlando in the Nikola Vucevic trade (something I’m sure Orlando fans are real giddy about right now). The Bulls are reported to have top-4 protection on that pick, so there is a chance they hold onto it if the ping pong balls are feeling kind.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania has reported that LaVine is expected to be out 10-14 days. If the backend of that estimate is correct, that means the Bulls’ top player would miss eight total games. Yeah … so it feels almost impossible for this team to stay alive in the playoff race, if that’s the case.
"Sources tell me Zach LaVine is expected to miss at least 10-14 days due to health and safety protocols."
— Stadium (@Stadium) April 15, 2021