Bulls Seem Hopeful Their "Two All-Stars" Pitch Will Work This Offseason

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Bulls Seem Hopeful Their “Two All-Stars” Pitch Will Work This Offseason

Chicago Bulls

Billy Donovan and Arturas Karnisovas did not hesitate to call it as they saw it in their respective end-of-season press conferences. Neither hid behind the condensed schedule or NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols as the reason the Bulls failed to crack the postseason. The team simply wasn’t good enough, and the first step in fixing that is recognizing it.

The next step is putting your money (or assets) where your mouth is … and that is where things tend to get tricky. Not only does Chicago simply not have the best reputation for landing free agents, but the front office still does not have a proven product to sell. The Bulls have not finished with a winning record since the 2015-16 season. The last time they sniffed to the postseason was during the 2016-17 season. Denzel Valentine and Cristiano Felicio were the only players on this season’s team to be on that squad. Ouch. 

Karnisovas was open about the fact that his plan to overcome those obstacles would formulate alongside Donovan and general manager Marc Eversley in the coming weeks. All he really told reporters in their roughly 23 minutes conversation was that he would remain aggressive and look at “every possible way to improve the team.” Karnisovas also seemed to believe that his previous aggressive moves should payoff in his quest to add talent. While he did not harp on this for too long, he did make sure to note that having Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic on the roster should make Chicago a more attractive destination.

“I think when you have a foundation of, let’s say, two All-stars in one place, I think it’s easier to add additional things of what we need,” Karnisovas told reporters. “So we’re going to discuss the needs of our team, and we’ll attack it during free agency.”

He isn’t wrong.

While the bold deadline acquisition may not have vaulted the team into the postseason as once hoped, it still made the Bulls better. Only time will tell how much better things have become, but there is no question walking into 2021-22 offseason with LaVine and Vucevic is more encouraging than the alternative.

Vucevic spoke to this point in his own end-of-season press conference, sharing what kind of opportunity this fresh stint in Chicago can offer.

Players now know around the league that the Bulls are about winning. They obviously made a big trade for a reason. They don’t want to wait for years to win, they want to win now. And, I mean, you have Zach and myself here. You have two All-Stars that have been around for a long time the guys know how good we are and how good we can become. I think players will want to play on a team like that. I also think the Bulls as a franchise, the history of it, the city of Chicago, the fans, there is no many teams you can say have a bigger history than the Bulls, so I think it will attract people to come here, hopefully.

Players may believe the Bulls are about winning, but whether or not they believe the Bulls can pull it off is the real question. I do think comments like these coming from Vucevic are important. The guy is a Chicago newbie who is seeing first-hand the kind of positive updates made inside the organization. The more he can help hype that up to players around the league, the better.

In today’s NBA, high-impact players like to join high-impact players. They also prefer organizations that will make the big moves necessary to improve the roster. The Bulls have checked the first box, and they are beginning to check the second. I think that bodes well for their future growth. At the same time, the Bulls can improve their look on paper all they want, but until the wins start to fall in line, there will always be questions about what is brewing in Chicago.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.