I’d be stupid if I acted like I knew what would happen tomorrow. Not only is the NBA trade deadline more chaotic than a Dennis Rodman birthday party, but the Chicago Bulls have quickly become one of the toughest organizations to read. While the new front office has made their fair share of moves over the past year, they simply haven’t been at the helm of this franchise long enough to build recognizable trends. On top of that, Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley might as well be sworn to secrecy.
This new infrastructure has sealed up almost every leak. So few rumors trickle out about this Bulls front office, and when they do, they never come alongside much detail. The most significant rumors this trade season have revolved around Dennis Schroder, Jakob Poeltl, and Jerami Grant. However, even with these rumors, it’s been remarkably easy to poke holes in their validity. Not to mention, the closer the deadline gets, the looser these connections have become.
I guess all I can do is head into Thursday with the same old naive optimism that I’ve carried with me since this front office took over. They’ve earned enough of my trust thus far to be comfortable with whatever decision they make.
No Big Splash?
With health as the Bulls’ main issue, it isn’t surprising to hear they are prepared to wait out their injury trouble, which is what K.C, Johnson implied in his latest for NBC Sports Chicago.
As of Wednesday, there was little buzz around the league about the Bulls making a major splash. And league sources indicated the Bulls were focused more on frontcourt help, not a reported pursuit of Dennis Schröder. In fact, two sources indicated that interest has been overblown.
Again, it’s always possible the Bulls slap us across the face with a deal at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow, but eyeing only marginal improvements is pretty easy to believe. The team rose up the East ranks with their pre-injury roster, and we have reason to think they can make plenty of noise come playoff time (if they can get fully healthy, of course).
One of those rumored marginal improvements has been Dennis Schroder. In fact, rumor has is it that the Celtics have had an offer on the table from Karnisovas for Schroder (which will talk more about below). While Johnson doesn’t speak to the offer, he does suggest that much of the talk between these two sides have been “overblown.” I think we all expected this to be the case pretty early on considering the team’s biggest issue – even when healthy – resides in the frontcourt. Nevertheless, it’s still important to see it reaffirmed.
Johnson also went on to mention that he doesn’t see a world where Coby White is on the move. Between the Bulls’ two youngest players, White has felt like the most likely to find a new home. To be sure, “most likely” doesn’t mean it has ever actually been likely, but it has not been hard to assume the front office could mention White in offers over their first-ever draft selection. According to Johnson, though, there continues to be very little White chatter around the league: “White’s name hasn’t even surfaced in any concrete rumors. And last month, NBC Sports Chicago reported that rival executives are under the impression the Bulls will retain White.”
Make sure to read Johnson’s full thoughts below:
Coby White hasn't landed in any rumors in advance of Thursday's trade deadline. But he also represents one of the Bulls' biggest assets.
Talked to White about this: "I think I'll be here."
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) February 9, 2022
So Now the Celtics Want Schroder?
The belief is that the Bulls offer for Schroder could be Troy Brown Jr. and a second-round pick. All things considered, that feels like a reasonable proposal for a player who is set to hit free agency this offseason (and who would likely be viewed as nothing more than short-term help in Chicago), but the Celtics reportedly expect more.
“While several Eastern Conference teams have shown interest (Cleveland, Chicago, Milwaukee) in the point guard, it’s going to take more than a second-round pick and expiring contracts for Boston to move the point guard, per sources.,” wrote Brian Robb of MassLive dot com.
Again, I was already skeptical of a Schroder addition, but this pretty much puts the nail in the coffin. I don’t see a world where the Bulls offer anything more for the backcourt veteran, and I also find it hard to believe another organization does.
Robb also makes sure to note that the reason for an increased asking price could be due to the Celtics’ recent win streak. The team has put together six straight W’s into 7th in the Eastern Conference. While Schroder has struggled over this stretch, I suppose they could value his playoff experience.
Not Done Yet
Some of the most active teams this week have seemed to make it clear that they are not done taking calls. According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, the Indiana Pacers have made it known that they are willing to send Buddy Hield elsewhere. The organization acquired the sharpshoot on Wednesday as part of the Domantas Sabonis trade that also sent rising start Tyrese Haliburton to the Pacers.
A career 40.0 percent 3-point shooter, it’s not hard to imagine Hield could have suitors around the league. Owed roughly $38 million over the next two seasons, Hield may not be on the most desirable contract, but we all know contending teams will go out of their way to add shooting.
Scotto also reported that both T.J. Warren and Torrey Craig remain on the trading block. Warren continues to struggle with injuries, but Craig certainly feels like a name to watch. I wrote about it in our previous round-up, but as a versatile defender under contract for another season, I wouldn’t hate to see the Bulls pick up the phone over the next handful of hours.
The Trail Blazers kept the ball rolling Wednesday afternoon by joining a three-team trade with the Jazz and Spurs. The organization flipped Nickeil Alexander-Walker – who was acquired as part of the McCollum trade – to the Jazz. In return, they added Joe Ingles (who recently suffered a season-ending knee injury), Elijah Hughes, and a second-round pick. The Spurs got old-friend Tomas Satoransky and a second-round pick while also sending Juancho Hernangomez to the Jazz.
Ingles — out for the season with a torn ACL — leaves as an expiring contract in the deal, but don't rule out a future return to the Jazz. He's a free agent this summer. Spurs, Blazers get more draft assets and expiring deals to set up the summer — and perhaps more at deadline.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 9, 2022
Meanwhile, it sounds like the Sacramento Kings may be ready to start their playoff push. NBA Insider Marc Stein has reported the organization may decide to hold onto highly-coveted forward Harrison Barnes. Of course, this could be a leverage play to get a desperate team to up the ante, but it also isn’t hard to believe considering the Sabonis trade made it clear this organization has its sights set on a play-in tournament appearance.
< 24 hours to go until the NBA trade deadline: Sacramento has been sending more frequent signals that it plans to keep Harrison Barnes rather than trade him, league sources say, as it chases a playoff play-in spot.
The Kings have missed the playoffs for 15 seasons in a row.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 9, 2022
Barnes’ name has been shoved behind Jerami Grant’s all trade season, and I get it. Grant is the younger and more athletic option of the two, and his potential on the defensive end ranks well above Barnes’. With that said, Barnes is probably the kind of “big splash” I’d be most comfortable with the Bulls pursuing. This isn’t to say I expect nor desire it, especially if the price is Patrick Williams, but Barnes has long been a player who embraces his role and hits the 3-ball at an efficient rate. He’d probably fit in the most effortlessly to the Bulls four-spot, which we all know is important to an Arturas Karnisovas.
Speaking of which, I’m going to drop a link to a post we wrote last month about Karnisovas’ comments on 670 The Score. I think this describes well what I continue to expect at the deadline.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 6, 2022
Odds and Ends …
• According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Los Angeles Lakers have made it known that they refuse to include a first-round pick in deals to take on Russell Westbrook. Doesn’t matter … they weren’t getting rid of him anyway.
• The Philadelphia 76ers continue to be connected to the Nets’ James Harden (which we wrote more about here), but they also continue to look for suitors to take on Tobias Harris, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) February 9, 2022
• As for Jerami Grant, trade talks continue to cool. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski hinted that the Pistons could keep the versatile forward until the offseason, even with the Trail Blazers currently expressing interest.