The Buyout Market Decision, DeMar Looks Healthy, An Ugly All-Star Game, Lauri Made it, and Other Bulls Bullets

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The Buyout Market Decision, DeMar Looks Healthy, An Ugly All-Star Game, Lauri Made it, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

The Russell Westbrook saga officially came to an end this morning.

Shockingly (he says oozing sarcasm), he decided not to join the organization that currently sits outside the Play-In Tournament picture and has lost six games in a row. Instead, he’ll walk across the Arena hall and grab a Clippers jersey.

More thoughts on that news here:

  • I also already wrote about the Bulls’ potential interest in Patrick Beverley and John Wall, so feel free to give that a read here. From my perspective, I’m not sure I see any point in pursuing a mid-season free-agent pickup right now. We thought Tristan Thompson could plug some kind of hole when the Bulls snatched him last season, but we all saw how that panned out. I just don’t see a world right now where a guy like Beverley or Wall moves the needle enough when it comes to the Bulls’ playoff odds. A slight case could be made with a former-No. 1 option in Westbrook, but even that case was flimsy.
  • To be clear, though, I am pretty conflicted. If the reason not to sign one of these guys is that the season feels like a lost cause, then can’t that also double as a reason to sign them? Like … why not, right? My only real beef would be if this player took significant minutes away from the Bulls’ youngsters. Continuing to allow guys like Dalen Terry, Ayo Dosunmu, Patrick Williams, and even Coby White to develop feels crucial, especially with decisions on Dosunmu and White coming up in free agency.
  • DeMar DeRozan celebrated his sixth All-Star appearance with a modest 8 points and 5 assists in 16 minutes of action. Coming off two straight missed games due to a thigh strain, it was just good to see him take the floor and look like his same old self.

  • Speaking of which, it doesn’t appear as if we have any reason to believe that DeRozan will be at risk of missing more time after the All-Star break. He said he’s excited to return to Chicago with “full strength” as the team hopes to snap a six-game losing streak on Thursday against the Nets.

  • The All-Star Game stunk, folks. I give credit to the NBA for switching up the format and bringing us some far more entertaining matchups over the past couple of years (also, to their credit, I really enjoyed the live draft this year). But it only felt like a matter of time before the excitement of a target-score finale would wear off. Most players could not have cared less about providing an even semi-competitive game, and the absence of the league’s top stars also felt notable. LeBron James played 14 minutes and Giannis Antetokounmpo scored just 2 points in under a minute. Meanwhile, Luka Doncic scored 4 points in 19 minutes and Ja Morant dropped 6 points in 20 minutes.
  • At least Jayson Tatum broke the record for the most points ever scored in an All-Star Game and had some fun possessions against teammate Jaylen Brown … but that wasn’t enough to salvage the night as a whole. Nuggets head coach Mike Malone – who was also serving as the head coach for Team LeBron – said what needed to be said after the game: “It’s an honor to be here and it’s an honor to be a part of a great weekend, great players, but that is the worst basketball game ever played.”
  • To be sure, I don’t think Malone was actually upset. He knows that health is the top priority, and he admitted purposefully keeping Jokic’s minutes down. But that’s also the problem with the All-Star Game. Everybody knows that it’s pretty much a big waste of time, and that’s a shame when we consider the star-caliber talent that is on the floor. Also, relatedly, I fear big-time that the in-season tournament that the NBA wants to do will be viewed similarly to this event. Players just aren’t going to care about hoisting that trophy.
  • DeMar DeRozan is me watching last night’s game:

  • The last thing I want to say about the All-Star Game is this: Watching Lauri Markkanen out there was so darn weird. On one hand, I sincerely believe that Markkanen wasn’t going to reach this level of his career in Chicago. He likely needed to go through what he went through to break out of his shell in the way he finally has. Plus, I will not be *shocked* if this is the only All-Star appearance of his career. On the other hand, last night still helped represent the player we all hoped the Bulls had back in 2017. And it’s impossible for that not to sting a little.
  • Carlik Jones had the best performance of the three Bulls at All-Star Weekend. I know this sounds like a silly question … but should the Bulls just give him a chance instead of singing a free-agent point guard? Would it really make that big of a difference?

  • Can’t shoot. Always hurt. Questionable fit. Arturas Karnisovas is calling right now!

  • Utah, Indiana, Wisconsin … that’d be something!

  • Report: Elias Schuster Wants a *HUGE* Raise from Michael After Having to Watch the Bulls Every Night

  • One last big game for Patrick Kane?

Author: Elias Schuster

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