Trade Deadline Week is Already Crazy, Tough Path Ahead, Buyout Market, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Trade Deadline Week is Already Crazy, Tough Path Ahead, Buyout Market, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

Back-to-back losses to the 76ers and Suns have slid the Bulls down to the No. 3 seed in the East.

Thanks to an immensely tight race, they are now only .5-game out from falling into the No. 5 spot in the conference, and the two games that lie ahead should not be taken lightly. While the Charlotte Hornets are currently on a five-game losing streak, they still have the NBA’s 12th-best offense thanks to the All-Star-caliber play of LaMelo Ball and breakout star Miles Bridges. Then, the Minnesota Timberwolves will come to the United Center playing some of their best basketball in years.

The Bulls should be able to put up a good fight against each squad, hopefully getting back on a winning track. But thanks to a slew of unfortunate injury trouble and an annoyingly condensed schedule, we might have to accept they are currently closer to these kinds of teams than we might like.

Right, K.C.?

•   Merely noting the Bulls hold a 1-11 record against the NBA’s top-7 teams lacks context. No matter what the “NO EXCUSES” army wants to say, it’s impossible not to attribute at least part of this struggle against the league’s best to the Bulls injury trouble. Yes, it is true that some of their opponents have also been absent key players, but everyone else on this list (besides the Cavaliers, who is the one team the Bulls have a win against) is a more proven commodity. The Heat have the chemistry and familiarity to take better advantage of a depleted team, even if they are missing a piece or two. The same can be said about the Bucks, the 76ers, the Warriors, the Suns, and even the Grizzlies. That stuff really matters.

•   The Bulls still have the firepower to take down the teams they are “supposed to beat.” However, when we enter this upper echelon of the NBA, this is when firepower can be matched. Players like Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball and Derrick Jones Jr. become that much more important in a variety of ways. I think about the Avengers battle in Captain America: Civil War. Iron Man and Captain America are going at it. Hawkeye and Black Widow are toe-to-toe. Our attention is on those matchups for much of the fight, but we also have Bucky and Black Panther duking it out while Spider-Man tries to hold back Falcon. Every battle counts. Every matchup is key. And, unfortunately, the Bulls have had to ask Tinky-Winky to guard War Machine in some of these recent contests.

•   Now, with that out of the way, the record does still matter. The truth is the Bulls are not beating these teams right now, and they have yet to show us they will beat these teams when fully healthy. Caruso, Ball, Jones, and Williams are all still a while away from returning, which means the Bulls will remain in a very vulnerable spot. Do they stay on this declining course and potentially settle for a spot around the No. 5 seed or do they look for a short-term solution? I can truly see a justifiable answer for either choice. But I can also see an avenue where this front office meets in the middle (aka … add around the margins enough where it helps you now but also gives you even more options to throw in the rotation come playoff time).

•   Who is an example that can fit the criteria? Well, you might not like it, but maybe Dennis Schroder. If it’s true he wouldn’t cost anything more than Troy Brown Jr. and a second-round pick, it’s hard not to at least think about it. He would bolster this team’s backcourt defense in the absence of Ball and Caruso while providing playoff experience that could be deployed in certain lineups. To be sure, I still don’t love this move, but it is the kind that could meet in the middle of their two options.

•   I still -100 percent – prefer this front office favors the frontcourt in any deadline transactions. They need to add a better backup center or possibly a larger four who can also slide over to the five in small-ball looks. We have talked about trade targets in this department in the past, but let’s remember the buyout market could also come in handy. Millsap is already a player the team has been tied to who could become a free agent, and Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer listed him alongside Tristian Thompson as a name to look out for in the buyout market.


•   The Chicago Bulls didn’t hold back against Grayson Allen in their latest All-Access. The team repeatedly showed Caruso’s rough wrist injury, sprinkling in voiceovers from Bulls personnel and broadcasters alike about the harmful nature of the Allen foul.

•   Yes, please get Justin the protection he needs.

Author: Elias Schuster

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