“Closed for Business”… or Maybe Trading One of Their All-Stars; No One Knows What the Bulls Are Up To

Arturas Karnisovas of the Chicago Bulls
Arturas Karnisovas of the Chicago Bulls

Austin Powers who? Arturas Karnisovas is the real International Man of Mystery!

Ever since the former Nuggets GM took over the organization, the Chicago Bulls have been one of the hardest teams to figure out. They have repeatedly kept things close to the vest, allowing very few leaks/rumors and saying very few things publicly about their team-building intentions.

On the one hand, this approach is admirable. Staying quiet is a good way to avoid being taken advantage of and pulling off blindside moves. On the other, if you aren’t an active part of the conversation, you can fall behind. The NBA is an ever-changing league, and it’s unclear how much of the Bulls’ silence is a lack of involvement versus strategic planning.

Indeed, most people around the NBA are at a complete loss when it comes to what Chicago’s front office wants to do. The most definitive comment we’ve heard about a possible direction recently came from The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The NBA Insider stated that the Bulls still want to compete for the postseason and could even try to add to their roster as the deadline nears.

But whether or not we can truly believe that is a fair question when we factor in this close-to-the-vest nature of the Bulls’ brass.

This feels especially true when we take into account what ESPN’s Zach Lowe had to say in the most recent episode of The Lowe Post podcast. When discussing possible fake trades with co-worker Kevin Pelton, Lowe emphasized just how little he’s heard about the team.

“I don’t know what Chicago is going to do. I don’t think anyone knows what Chicago is going to do around the league. I don’t think teams that have talked to Chicago have a good sense of what they’re going to do. I think, having talked to a lot of those teams, I think the closest thing to a consensus read on the team is they will either trade none of the three or one of the three … 

But, again, these could all be smoke screens. These other teams that have talked to the Bulls, somebody used the phrase “closed for business” with me today. I don’t think anyone is closed for business today right now. We’re a week way, so take that for what it’s worth. Many others have given me the, ‘well, they’ll probably listen on one of them.” 

First of all, if the Bulls are legitimately “closed for business,” my faith in this front office will plummet. I can accept the idea of certain deals not working out, but the idea of them not even hearing teams out at this point is remarkably infuriating.

Having said that, I guess that does fall in line with what we’ve heard about the team potentially pursuing “minor deals” or completely standing pat. It’s not like we haven’t been prepared for the gut punch of zero activity at this season’s deadline.

But, again, the whole point is that we don’t truly know what they’re thinking. Lowe admits that all this quietness could just be a smoke screen for something bigger. While Lowe’s sources said they could trade none of the “Big 3,” they did also say they could trade one. At the end of the day, that would be a pretty big deal and would give me a bit more confidence that the change this roster needs is coming fully in the offseason.

If we’re being honest, my best guess is that the front office doesn’t even know exactly what they want to do right now. Every single game is likely factoring into their decision (even if it shouldn’t), and all we can do is hope they come to the right conclusion by the time Feb. 9 rolls around. The clock is ticking.

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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