The Bulls Crumble (Again), Trade Deadline Eve, Vucevic Talks Extension, and Other Bulls Bullets

What more does this front office need?

While the Memphis Grizzlies are a very good basketball team, they also walked into last night with losses in eight of their last nine games. Meanwhile, the Bulls were on another three-game winning streak with a chance to push it to four for the first time all year. And that’s not all.

They dominated the 3rd quarter 36-23 and put themselves in a position to win and get back to .500 for the first team since early November. Not to mention, the Atlanta Hawks had suffered a 116-107 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, meaning the No. 8 seed was up for grabs!

Get the win and MAYBE … just MAYBE … this front office can partially validate their push for the playoffs. Instead, the Bulls shot 26.3 percent in the 4th quarter and committed and allowed the Grizzlies to outscore them 32-14. Memphis won the points in the paint battle by 20 and the points off turnovers battle by 10.

It was the same kind of second-half collapse we’ve seen from the Bulls countless times this season. What is the only difference? This one happened right before the trade deadline.

  • Look, one game should never completely change the plans. But if the front office was at all on the fence about which direction to go, last night’s game should have helped them make a decision. This Bulls team isn’t going to get over the hump. Even if they miraculously make it through the Play-In Tournament and into a first-round series, what has anyone believing they can avoid another five-game exit?
  • I’m preparing myself for the RARE Arturas Karnisovas post-trade-deadline appearance where he preaches continuity. You should, too. I’m not moving my finger-crossing to the postseason, which is when this organization will have no choice but to re-evaluate its future with Nikola Vucevic hitting free agency and DeMar DeRozan up for a well-deserved contract extension. Perhaps we can then see some truly important decisions made, even if it might sting knowing they could have likely made some really strong trades with some desperate teams this deadline.
  • One of the most disappointing parts about this deadline thus far has been the lack of rumors surrounding Nikola Vucevic. To be clear, I mean no disrespect to him. I’ve been a huge fan of the way he’s played this season, and he deserves a lot of respect for bouncing back in the fashion that he has. Having said that, with unrestricted free agency looming, the Bulls must decide if he belongs as part of the future plans. And that isn’t an easy decision to make when we consider the current team-wide product on the floor. At the very least, they should be seeing what Vucevic is worth on the open market before potentially losing him for nothing. But have they been doing that?
  • The recent word is that the Bulls fully believe they can re-sign Vucevic this summer. But, if that’s the case, why haven’t they done so yet? Not only has it been reported in the past that the two sides have barely talked, but Vucevic sounds more than open to talking right now:
  • ‘‘I’m excited about seeing if we can get what we want to get,’’ told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley about the upcoming trade deadline. ‘‘Obviously, I’m not just taking the mindset of whatever happens, happens. I obviously would like to stay here [as a free agent this summer]. Hopefully, we can work something out.”

  • One thing working in the Bulls’ favor is that it sure sounds like Vucevic understands the process. With that being the case, perhaps there is a world where he is open to working out a sign-and-trade with the organization this summer if a new – and reasonable – deal can’t be reached:
  • ‘‘It makes sense that they want to first see how this all works out, how we do, how we finish the season. That’s just natural. They have to do their job the same way I’ve got to do my job. If they want to talk about an extension, I’d be more than happy to do it. Absolutely,” Vucevic told the Chicago Sun-Times.

  • Congrats to LeBron James. And *swallows pride* I mean it. Passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer is an absolutely mind-boggling accomplishment. I also can’t believe that he appears to have several more seasons in him, meaning the final tally could truly become insurmountable. Is he the GOAT? No (sorry, I got to make that clear!). But he is ONE of the best to ever play this game, and I have to recognize that even if it pains me.
  • NIKE. DOES. NOT. MISS.
  • https://twitter.com/Nike/status/1623187210181959681?s=20

  • For real tho …
  • I want Joakim Noah to join the “Big 3” and win MVP.
  • WORLD DOMINATION!
  • It’ll be a bittersweet goodbye. I’m happy that they can at least make this decision on their own and have a chance to compete.
  • 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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