The Chicago Bulls may have taken “continuity” a little too seriously.

After a disappointing 40-42 season that finished with the Bulls collapsing down the stretch in Miami of the final play-in game, the Bulls largely ran it back with the same team while replacing Patrick Beverley with Jevon Carter and Derrick Jones Jr with Torrey Craig, and drafting Julian Phillips. A 5-14 start threatened to end the season before it got started. On top of that, Zach LaVine and Patrick Williams both had season-ending injuries. The players were able to regroup the rest of the season, but it ended eerily similarly to last season.

The Bulls went 39-43, one win less than the season before. They got the 9 seed after being the 10 seed the season before. They won the first play-in game again. And they again lost to Miami in the win-or-go-home game for the 8 seed. This time, instead of leading late and blowing the lead, the Bulls gave up an early 26-2 run, which killed any chance they had.

Where does this team go now? Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley are entering their 5th season in charge of the franchise. It’s unlikely Jerry and Michael Reinsdorf will move to fire them, considering the leash GarPax had. Billy Donovan remains under contract, and while he isn’t a bad coach, the Bulls should strongly consider moving on and finding a gem; look at what the Oklahoma City Thunder did with Mark Daigneault, a little-known assistant they hired who has helped them become the 1 seed. Hell, look at what the Bulls did with Tom Thibodeau back in 2010.

As for the roster, there are a ton of question marks. Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu improved drastically this season, but realistically, what are their ceilings? DeMar DeRozan remains elite, but with the Bulls failing to make the playoffs in 2 of his 3 seasons here, is it time to move on for both parties? He is entering unrestricted free agency. Nikola Vucevic’s efficiency dropped a little; is it a sign of things to come for the aging center, who is still under contract for 2 years, $40+ million?

What about Zach LaVine, who struggled in his limited sample size this season and is probably overpaid but is still an elite 3-level scorer when healthy? Will they trade him or try to have him rehab his value?

What kind of contract does Patrick Williams get in the restricted free-agent market? Will the team finally move Alex Caruso, who is entering the final year of his contract?

Questions plague the front office, the staff, and the roster. And remember, this is a team that is handcuffed by ownership that refuses to pay the luxury tax, making it harder to even retool or improve on current rosters.

A pivotal offseason awaits the Bulls, with their list of free agents, potential trade targets for other teams, and owning their pick, currently projected 11th, pending the lottery. And frankly, I, like most of you, don’t want the Bulls to be in a win-or-go-home game at Miami before the actual playoffs begin for the third season in a row. Continuity has more than enough leeway.

It’s time for a change if this franchise wants to get back to the relevancy it had during the Derrick Rose-Jimmy Butler-Tom Thibodeau era.

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