Lonzo Saga Ends (For Now), Did the Bulls Pick the Wrong Path? DeMar Talks MVP, and Other Bulls Bullets
Lonzo Ball is done for the season.
While it’s a decision that almost everyone saw coming, it took until this morning to get the official word from the organization. The hope now is that Ball can use the next *EIGHT* months to finally get his body right for a return to play at the beginning of the 2023-23 season.
Even if that is the case, however, what version of Ball the Chicago Bulls will get remains a critical question.
- I don’t fully understand why the Bulls handled this Ball situation as they did. I get that the rate at which his body recovers is out of the training staff’s control, but was there no way to determine earlier that a Ball return wasn’t happening this year? One reason I ask is that the Bulls could have received a DPE (Disabled Player Exception) if they applied for one before the Jan. 15 deadline. This could have at least awarded them with some extra cash due to Ball’s inability to return to play. Having said that, this extra cash would go against the salary cap if spent, and we all know the Bulls were only $1.7 million away from the luxury tax. So, yeah, I’m assuming not going after this money was an easy decision for ownership.
- Patrick Beverley time! The Chicago Bulls front office double-downed on their decision to push for the playoffs by adding the veteran point guard via the buyout market this week (they reportedly plan to waive Tony Bradley to open up the roster spot). I have very little doubt that Beverley will add a mentality and voice to the locker room that is desperately needed. While he may not be everyone’s favorite role player, he always plays with a sense of urgency and embraces whatever role he’s given. Having said that, the mere fact the Bulls had to add someone like him 59 games into the season remains an indictment of how this roster was built. A good team should never have to bring in outside help more than mid-way through the season to boost enthusiasm.
- Again, that isn’t to say Beverley’s attitude will not help the Bulls. I think it will. But it’s not going to help enough that offseason plans for a drastic transformation should change. Likewise, it’s not going to help enough for me to be convinced that going in the opposite direction wasn’t the right choice at the trade deadline. The Bulls had a chance to just play their young guys and try to keep a top-4 pick. Was there also a chance this ended with Orlando getting the No. 5 pick? Sure, but who cares!? It’s a sunk cost at this point. And, by the way, there is still a great chance they end up with a top-10 pick anyway.
- I recognize that a playoff series could provide another great learning experience for several players on this roster. But I also recognize that the chances of the Bulls getting to that series are pretty darn low. Not to mention, I just think that the benefits of potentially landing a top-4 pick far outweigh the benefits of losing at the No. 8 seed in the first round. Let’s also not forget that making the playoffs could be a good enough excuse for this front office to try to run back something similar next year. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still root like the idiot I am for the Bulls if they make the postseason … but there is also a world where that outcome just delays the inevitable even further.
- DeMar DeRozan’s availability still isn’t talked about enough. Also, I totally respect what he said to Julia Poe of the Chicago Tribune about players needing to reach 78 games to fall into MVP consideration. One major part of being the most valuable is being the most readily available. With that said, though, the last time an MVP actually reached 78+ games played came during the 2016-17 season (Russell Westbrook). And I’m not prepared to say Giannis Antetokounmpo or Nikola Jokic didn’t deserve their trophies because they didn’t reach that mark.
- Zach LaVine sitting between Russell Westbrook and Spencer Dinwiddie isn’t the best feeling.
- The Brooklyn Nets have extended their head coach as they look to retool.
- Are you ready to pay Darnell Mooney the big bucks?
- The Youth Movement continues …