Teams Can’t Stop Speculating About What the Bulls Will Do With This Roster
The Chicago Bulls were the trade deadline darling in December.
Several games under .500 and struggling to stay within reach of the playoffs, teams around the NBA were crossing their fingers that Chicago’s downward spiral would continue. Whether it be cheaper contracts like Andre Drummond and Coby White or proven All-Star-caliber veterans like DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic, playoff-bound teams hoped to see a major sell-off ensue.
Chicago ultimately opted to keep the core together, sign Patrick Beverley, and push for the No. 8 seed. That pursuit came to a bitter end in the second round of the Play-In Tournament with a loss to the Eastern Conference Finals-bound Miami Heat. And with that, the hope rival teams had at the trade deadline re-ignited.
According to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C., the Bulls were a hot topic of conversation during the draft combine in Chicago this week. I highly encourage you to read his complete report here, as I’m only going to comment on a snippet below.
“To be clear, retaining the core and trying to add shooting and stabilize the point guard position with salary-cap exceptions certainly remains a solid possibility, if not a likelihood,” Johnson wrote. “But the fact the Bulls are embarking on their same predraft process—and interviewing projected lottery picks at the combine—despite not currently owning a pick indicates management is open to anything.
So is the fact they’ve landed so predominately in leaguewide speculation this week.”
First things first, Johnson notes that it’s more likely than not the Bulls continue with their current “big 3.” Arturas Karnisovas suggested this could be the path they take at his end-of-season press conference, where he stated a rebuild wasn’t on their minds and that re-signing Nikola Vucevic was a priority.
As infuriating as the idea of running it back is, I take at least some solace in the fact that it’s still extremely early in the offseason. Not to mention, Johnson goes on to give us a couple of reasons to have some faith that more drastic changes could be coming to this roster.
We talked about the importance of the Bulls doing their draft due diligence in a recent morning bullets post. Johnson reiterates that point here, commenting that their decision to interview prospects (and likely work them out in the future) coincides with a potential openness to acquiring 2023 draft picks. Exactly how interested they are in pursuing those picks is unknown, but it’s at least noteworthy that someone with Johnson’s intel is drawing this conclusion.
Secondly, the fact so many teams remain invested in the Bulls’ offseason plans speaks to how little Karnisovas and Co. have tried to rebuff trade interest. Opposing front offices clearly believe there is a world where the Bulls go in a drastically different direction. And I have to imagine that belief is at least a little more informed than it was before the deadline.
The Bulls seemingly have everyone in a tizzy, which is an advantageous position to be in if the Bulls want to make it one. A lot of speculation generally means a lot of interest. In other words, it’ll only feel that much more unjustifiable if the Bulls are sitting with a nearly identical roster on Media Day. Simply put: Teams are ready to get sh*t done, so let’s hope Chicago takes some of them up on their offers.