The summer is the perfect time to bask in the sun, fire up the barbecue, belly flop into the pool, and – of course – get high on NBA draft rumors.
Of course, Bulls fans haven’t been able to enjoy the offseason to the fullest over the years. The previous regime was rarely active in the free-agent market, and trade rumors were even rarer. However, since Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley pulled up to the United Center with a sledgehammer, we’ve watched the Chicago Bulls do a complete 180.
The Bulls have quickly become one of the most unpredictable and aggressive franchises in the NBA. And the headlines have reflected just that. Aside from Zach LaVine’s high-profile free agency, we’ve also seen numerous reports about the Bulls’ possible activity on the trade market. And, of course, the most popular rumor has centered around big man Rudy Gobert.
The Gobert discussion has dominated the NBA universe for much of the week. Conversations about trade packages have quickly turned into conversations about on-court fit, and all of it has forced some of us to lose sight of where this rumor actually stands and why it started.
NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson used the latest Bulls Talk Podcast to splash some cold water on the Gobert frenzy (bolded emphasis mine):
“I, personally, have not put a lot of stock into these rumors … There is a lot of noise out there. It’s certainly fair to speculate what the Jazz might do. Before, I personally made a couple of calls on the topic, and I was told that there’s not much going on right now,” Johnson said. “Things can obviously change in this league – always change in this league. I can also tell you, from my understanding, Nikola Vucevic is under the impression he’s going to be here.”
Now, did Johnson say Gobert-to-the-Bulls dialogue is completely off the table? No. But he seems to make it clear that this hasn’t moved past the idea phase. He also directly states that Nikola Vucevic believes he’ll be wearing red next season, which is obviously noteworthy considering any Gobert trade would presumably have to include the big man. It’s also a comment we should keep in mind as we consider the Bulls’ pursuit of other centers this season.
At the end of the day, it’s just more likely than not they add a backup than replace a starter.
I also think Johnson’s words mesh with the growing belief that many of the latest rumors have been fueled up by rival executives. The Bulls are a pretty easy team to name when asked about where someone believes Gobert could land. Not only do they have another intriguing big man (on an expiring contract) to package in a deal, but they have a high-upside youngster in Patrick Williams who may not fit with their win-now mentality.
Still, continuity was the name of the game at this year’s end-of-season presser conference, so as long as LaVine re-signs, running it back with this core has sounded like Karnisovas’ preferred approach.
For a complete look at what Johnson had to say, make sure to check out the complete Bulls Talk Podcast below:
• How real is smoke connecting Bulls and Jazz?
• How much would Gobert improve Bulls?
• Financial realities of making a trade work
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) June 10, 2022