Suns Are Legit, Shams Talks About the Bulls’ Future, Carlik Jones, and Other Bulls Bullets
The bar is really low when it comes to this current Bulls team. With that being the case, I appreciate the fact that they didn’t make me want to punch a hole in the wall and proceed to scream into that hole during last night’s loss.
Did they go on to lose by 21 points? Sure. But they played hard for the majority of the game and were simply outmatched by a title-contending team. As sad as it is, I can live with that at this point in the season.
- I’m just all out of rage, folks. The Bulls have lowered my expectations so much that I really have no choice but to be totally fine with last night’s loss. As I said, they fought pretty darn hard and got two admirable performances from Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. The fact of the matter is that they are just the far less talented team. Not to mention, the combination of Devin Booker and Kevin Durant looks to be as lethal as everyone thought it would be.
- The gap between the Bulls and the Suns isn’t supposed to be this far. In theory, Chicago is supposed to have their own All-Star trio that allows them to compete with anyone. However, as this season has shown, the fit of that trio and the pieces around them is remarkably poor. The Bulls don’t even look like they’re playing the same game as a team like Phoenix. And it’s just further evidence that immense change is needed.
- Speaking of which, the 3-point disparity proved truly embarrassing again last night. The Suns outscored the Bulls 60-21 behind from long range. Chicago took just 23 attempts from downtown while Phoenix made 20 buckets. Look, you don’t have to be one of the top 3-point chuckers in the NBA to play competitively (just look at the Nuggets or Cavs), but you then have to be able to make up for it in other ways. You can’t let the Suns also snatch 13 OREBs and shoot 50 percent from the field. You also can’t have just three players in double figures. If the Bulls are going to refuse to shoot 3s, they have to be perfect at everything else. And they can’t be.
- NBA Insider Shams Charania sat down with Stacey King on the Gimme the Hot Sauce Podcast. The two discussed several NBA storylines, including what might rest ahead for the Bulls in the offseason. While Charania didn’t necessarily break any news, he did continue to stress that the short-term goal was always to be a competitive organization. In other words, a trade deadline sell-off was never in the cards.
“We’ll see what happens with the Play-In Tournament, the playoffs. I think that’s probably where their priorities are first … I think there were teams that were interested in DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, but there wasn’t really an offer that was made that was going to help this team win now. And I don’t think this was a team that wanted to be in a position to be a lottery team,” Charania said.
- You already know how I feel about this decision. I think the Bulls are holding onto false hope by believing this core can salvage this year. Especially if they go on to miss the Play-In Tournament altogether, their decision not to prioritize player development and lottery position will look that much stupider. With that said, I am still somewhat optimistic that legitimate change is on the horizon. While Charania didn’t give any specifics, he did remind folks that the Bulls have some big decisions to make. From re-signing Vucevic to extending DeMar DeRozan to weighing Zach LaVine’s trade market, they’re going to have no choice but to discuss the future of this core in the coming months.
- Indeed, Charania also pointed back to his reporting earlier this season that mentioned some tension between LaVine and the organization. He went on to imply that the overall disconnect on this roster is likely to lead to some kind of change (whether that’s LaVine moving on or the pieces drastically changing around him, is yet to be seen).
I think the Bulls as a franchise, and this regime right now, they do want to be competitive. But, clearly, this team has had it’s ups and downs,” Charania told King. “I did some reporting on it a couple of months ago about the disconnect that has happened at times on the floor with Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan and some of the tension that I think has also existed behind the scenes as far as playing style. I think they both, and I still have heard, they both really like each other off the floor and as people. But, clearly, there has been a disconnect at times on the court and Billy Donovan kind of some finger-pointing inside the locker room.”
- If the Bulls were to move on from LaVine, Charania reiterated that there should be plenty of interest. I don’t personally see them going this route, but I do think it’s good to know that there are likely legitimately strong packages out there for the front office to consider.
“I think any return would have to include multiple draft picks, maybe two-three firsts. Maybe even more than that for good players who can help you stay competitive now,’ Charania said. “As far as the Knicks conversations, I know the Knicks have had interest in Zach LaVine, I didn’t hear that there was anything that was remotely close at the deadline. If he’s available, there is going to be no shortage of suitors – whether it be the Knicks, the Lakers, the Mavericks. They’re going to be teams that have a level of interest. The question is what are the Bulls going to do at that point?”
- Anyway, make sure to check out the full interview with Charania here or in the video below:
- DeMar had four Kobes on the court to choose from before last night’s game … lol
- LaVine’s shot-making is so pretty.
- ICYMI: The Chicago Bulls officially rewarded Carlik Jones with a full-time roster spot on Friday. The February G-League Player of the Month has been one of the best performers in the NBA’s developmental league all season long.
- Now, do I fear the Bulls went this route since it’s probably the cheapest way to fill that open roster spot? Absolutely. But I’m also just happy for Jones. He did earn these final few weeks as a full-time NBA roster member … even if the Bulls sent him right back down to play with the Windy City crew this afternoon.
- Meanwhile, the recently-waived Goran Dragic appears ready to sign with the Milwaukee Bucks.
- A little deadline refresher …