Buyout Market Update, Bulls Stand Alone, LaVine Takes Responsibility, and Other Bulls Bullets
Last night was tough.
Don’t get me wrong, our Super Bowl party went swell! The food was good, the company was great, and the game itself was an instant classic (well, if we forget that final penalty call).
Still, last night proved so tough because it made me come to the terms with the fact that I will never do anything as cool as Rihanna does everything. As the kids say … what a queen.
- Now that football is over, we can all turn our attention to the Chicago Bulls! *hears something in earpiece* What’s that? The Bulls stink? They’re on a three-game losing streak? After doing nothing at the trade deadline? And there probably bound for a Play-In Tournament exit … if that? Ah, gotcha.
- For what it’s worth, as annoying as the Bulls’ rest-of-season storyline could turn out to be, it’s still pretty darn important. While actions will always speak louder than words, Arturas Karnisovas did reiterate that these next 25+ games will decide the fate of the Bulls’ current core. He continued to suggest that the offseason presents the franchise with an easier time to make drastic moves and that he will harshly assess how LaVine, Vucevic, and DeRozan dig themselves out of this current hole.
- Again, I’ll believe the necessary changes are made when they’re … well … made. I do have to wonder if he’s already regretting not reverting the course at the deadline, though. He doubled down on this core and they have repaid him with three-straight losses – all of which have come tied to some truly embarrassing 4th-quarter efforts. Each of the games was against the kind of team they have to beat to honestly re-enter the playoff mix. The fact that they couldn’t even pull off one should be yet another reminder that *time* isn’t going to fix this problem.
- Anyway, the buyout market continued to heat up over the week. Danny Green – who was traded from the Grizzlies to the Rockets – reached his buyout with Houston and immediately went on to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 3-and-D veteran will give the young team a much-needed playoff-proven talent at the wing. The Cavs currently sit 4th in the East and just one game behind the Philadelphia 76ers.
- Speaking of which, Philly just went on to sign backup big man Dewayne Dedmon, who was recently traded from Miami and also reached a buyout. This gives Philly some more size behind Joel Embiid, as they also added lengthy forward Jalen McDaniels in a deal with Charlotte.
- By the way, with the Cavs adding Green, this now means the Chicago Bulls are the ONLY organization in the NBA not to make a mid-season change via trade or the buyout market. I can’t wrap my head around that. Every other team in the league did at least something to try to help themselves. And, look, I understand that you shouldn’t just make a trade to make a trade. But you’re really telling me 29 out of 30 teams could find something they perceived as beneficial for their future (whether it be here or now) and you couldn’t!? I promise I’ll try not to harp on this for the remainder of the year, but I will continue to think it was a major mistake by the front office.
- Former Bull Stanley Johnson is looking for a new home after a successful stint with the Spurs. Considering his defensive versatility, I could very well see a contending team scooping him up. However, I wouldn’t necessarily fall for that new-look 3-ball. As great as that percentage looks, it came on just 1.3 attempts per game over his 30 contests with San Antonio.
- The four-team trade that was held up due to Gary Payton’s failed physical is still going through. The Warriors have reportedly accepted the deal despite Payton’s current injury status, but they’re also asking the NBA to investigate whether or not the information was purposefully withheld in negotiations.
- Zach LaVine recently spoke to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson for a lengthy Q&A. The wide-ranging discussion included a question on his fit with DeMar DeRozan and the Bulls’ chosen style of play, and I do very much respect his answer:
I think without Lonzo, it just puts a little bit more weight on me and DeMar to play different roles almost. Having a facilitator like Lonzo, a lead guard like that, helps us both out. We miss him, but you can’t put the blame on us not playing well because of Lonzo. We have to figure it out. That’s how the NBA is—people are going to be injured. Your best players have to lead the way and your supporting cast has to help as well. We have to be more consistent.
- He’s 100 percent right. Does the absence of Lonzo Ball change things for this team? Absolutely. But Ball isn’t a max player. In fact, Ball isn’t even supposed to be one of the top-3 players on this team. The “stars” have to step up and figure out how to win basketball games. LaVine owning that and not running from it is exactly what we want to see him do. Of course, I wish the results were better, but I’m glad to see him take this responsibility.
- Major bummer alert:
- The offseason starts now …
- Today was our first day dropping our recently-adopted dog off at daycare, so I probably shouldn’t have re-watched The Farmer’s Dog commercial again (which isn’t included in the post below … come on, Patrick!).