Relying on Health, Trade Exception Status, Nets Sign Warren, and Other Bulls Notes

Lonzo Ball of the Chicago Bulls

My thoughts are with everyone impacted by yesterday’s horrific events in Highland Park. But I know those thoughts will never be enough.

I grew up just 25 minutes away from that community. I’ve walked those streets. I’ve eaten at those restaurants. I’ve sat at that train station. As it is for many of the people who stop here at Bleacher Nation, Highland Park is a town I have a relationship with. Just like how Ulvade and Buffalo are towns that so many others have a relationship with.

Gun violence in this country isn’t just impacting that unfamiliar town on the TV. Gun violence is here, it’s there, it’s spewing from the increasingly expanding cracks of this country. I know these words aren’t going to change anything, but I hope it at least serves as a reminder that this issue can never be ignored.

Now, this transition is never an easy one, but my job is to write words about basketball. I’m going to try to do that to the best of my ability below.

  • Roughly five days into free agency, the Chicago Bulls have remained relatively unchanged. Goran Dragic and Andre Drummond are the two new faces who will take the floor next season, but how significant of a role either will carry is up for plenty of debate. With that being the case, it’s becoming increasingly obvious the Bulls view health as their greatest asset for next season. I’m not sure how that is going to fix the lack of rim protection and 3-point shooting on this roster …. but I guess we’ll see what Billy Donovan and Co. have in store.
  • Again, I want to stress that the idea of continuity has never been a problem for me. I understand the urge for a team that sat in first place for about half the season to run it back with the same core. What I don’t understand is not more aggressively bolstering a supporting cast that wasn’t able to withstand injury trouble and provide needed playoff depth. Sure, both Dragic and Drummond will add a chunk of veteran experience, but Dragic is a 36-year-old who played 21 games last season and Drummond is a defensively-limited backup big man. Neither is the kind of bench boost we initially expected.
  • I’m also not sure if we should read so heavily into what this team accomplished in the first half of the season. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it was some kind of fluke, but we also know how much harder the Bulls’ schedule became in the second half of the year. We don’t know if this core can continue to win at that first-place level against a more competitive schedule, which is why it would have been a safer bet to try to also spend the extra money on some role-playing improvements. In other words, the Bulls’ sample size with a fully healthy roster was extremely encouraging … but it was also very small. Are the Bulls putting too much faith in those early-season results?
  • I guess I should probably still include this disclaimer: Time remains for Arturas Karnisovas and Co. to add to this roster. One of the ways they could still do that is through the $5.0 million trade exception that the organization received in the Daniel Theis sign-and-trade last offseason. Unfortunately, that trade exception expires on July 7, and we have yet to hear of any rumored action in the trade market.
  • Of course, there is also always the possibility that Coby White finds a new home. While all signs now seem to point toward the organization keeping his sparkplug scoring around, the fact they were reportedly willing to deal the 22-year-old at one point this summer could suggest that remains the case.
  • DeRozan still out here winning Player of the Week awards.
  • The fact it took this long for Warren to sign makes me think there are still some serious concerns about his health heading into next season. With that said, if he can return to the floor early on and flash his efficient shooting, this signing could soon feel like a missed opportunity for the Bulls.
  • Hoping this gives off NBA 2K11 vibes.
  • I did love the flashes we saw from Herbert last year …
  • written by

    Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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