Lonzo Ball News, Ayo at All-Star Weekend, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Lonzo News, Ayo at All-Star Weekend, DeMar’s Support, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

One would like to think that the All-Star break would have at least supplied us with a brief recess from the Bulls’ sadness. But here we are.

With just 23 games of the regular season left to go, the Chicago Bulls are bound to officially rule out Lonzo Ball for the remainder of the year.

  • First things first, nobody should be surprised. Practically every single update on Ball has been negative, and those that could have been deemed “positive” never suggested any sort of significant progress in his recovery. Up until this point, he continues to move incredibly slowly through his rehab and has yet to give us any indication that he is running or cutting consistently.
  • Even if it was known that Ball was no longer suffering discomfort in his knee (it’s not), the fact of the matter is he’s been out so long that he’ll need more time to gear up for a return to the floor. After everything he’s been through, the worst thing the Bulls can do is put considerable pressure on him immediately upon his return. And that’s likely what they would do as they continue to hold out hope for a run through the Play-In Tournament.
  • I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Ball can somehow find his groove and make a full recovery in time for next year’s training camp. But I’d be lying if I said I’m not incredibly concerned about the future of his career. He has two more years of this contract left at $41.8 million. The final year is a player option, but I think we can all agree he is in line to pick up that option. That’s not a small chunk of change taken out of the Bulls’ pocket. If he continues to stay sidelined, that’s dead money that could only further restrict their ability to properly retool this roster.
  • Getting off that contract also isn’t going to be easy. While the money isn’t necessarily absurd in today’s NBA, it would still likely have to come tied to draft capital for a rebuilding team to eat it for them. The Bulls are basically void of that draft capital and not in a position to send it out for nothing. I guess that could change, though, if they make some drastic moves this summer.
  • I bring all that up because it is important for us to think about it from a team-building logistics perspective, but let’s not forget what’s most important here. Above all else, I’m really just hoping that Ball is ok mentally and can return to the floor – whether it’s for the Bulls or not. He’s just 25 years old and continued to develop into a true winning player as each season went by. I’d hate to see his career cut short.
  • Speaking of another youngster with promise, Ayo Dosunmu appeared in his second-straight Rising Stars game last night! The Chicago native only got to play one game after his squad – Team Deron – lost to the eventual Champs (Team Pau) 40-25. Dosunmu went 2-3 from the field for 4 points, 2 assists, and a steal in just under 7 minutes of action. Should have played him more, Deron!
  • Dosunmu may not have made it look flashy last night, but he sure made it look easy. His four points came on two nice mid-range pull-ups.

  • One of his assists was also a perfect lob to dunk contest participant Trey Murphy:

  • Dosunmu has obviously gotten tons of playing time in Chicago, but I’d almost prefer to see him carry an even bigger workload at times. His ability to score the basketball is still something I feel hasn’t been fully tapped into. He was a great mid-range scorer during his time at Illinois, and we all know that he has a mean downhill game in transition. This is why a small part of me was hoping for the Bulls to make some drastic changes at the deadline. I’d love to have gotten 25+ games or so to evaluate what youngsters like Dosunmu and Patrick Williams could do with a higher usage percentage.
  • Regardless, I suspect we’ll have plenty more years to see what Dosunmu is made of. It’s always important to have some high-upside youngsters on your roster, and I suspect the front office will prioritize re-signing Dosunmu this summer.

  • DeMar DeRozan is the perfect teammate.

  • Will Gottlieb over at CHGO wrote a nice piece on DeRozan’s relationship with rookie Dalen Terry and third-year forward Patrick Williams. If you haven’t given it a read, you can check it out here. While I certainly have my questions about whether or not DeRozan will stay a part of the Bulls’ long-term plans, I’ll never mind having his leadership in the locker room.
  • A top defense. A bottom offense. Who woulda thunk it?

  • Kevin Love in Miami is going to work out annoyingly well, isn’t it?

  • Giannis telling it like it is lol

  • So now the robots can look like me!? Nope! Don’t like that!

  • The Bulls should really consider their current lottery odds as they return from this All-Star break.

  • I swear if the Bulls AND Blackhawks can’t get something done …

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.