As the trade deadline looms, some teams will make moves that will alter their short-term and long-term future, similar to what the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks did Sunday.
Will the Bulls stay put, break down the core or push for a higher playoff seed? With the team sitting at 26-27, ninth in the eastern conference and on a three-game winning streak, it’ll be interesting to see what decisions executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas makes for the underperforming roster.
Bulls’ insiders are reporting everything from trading for Kevin Durant to shopping Andre Drummond.
Alex Caruso has been said to be available, but the Bulls have high standards for a “Bald Mamba” trade. It’s being reported the Bulls have to be “blown away” by an offer from a contending team if they’re going to shop Caruso, the team’s most important defensive asset. Some reports say the Bulls are looking for two first-round picks for Caruso to be moved, which basically makes him untouchable. Caruso is under contract with the Bulls for two more seasons.
Before Monday’s game, Andre Drummond wasn’t seeing a fit inside the Bulls’ regular rotation. He didn’t play in five of the team’s most recent 10 games. After signing a two-year contract in July that includes a player option in the second year, it’s possible the Bulls could ultimately move on from the big man. That would certainly be a mistake, and he proved that to be true Monday. Drummond scored 21 points on a perfect 9-9 shooting and snagged 15 boards in the Bulls’ blowout win.
Drummond is a solid veteran role player who still dominates down low. The Bulls struggled to rebound down the stretch last year, which elevates Drummond’s presence in the rotation later in the season.
The Bulls’ front office has made it clear that they don’t plan on trading core pieces like Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan or Nikola Vučević.
The team still has faith in the core’s ability to make a run in the postseason. Does Karnišovas plan on adding any pieces then? It doesn’t look that way. Last year, the Bulls’ front office sat on the sidelines, proving they believe they had what it takes to compete. Now, the roster lacks one of their most important assets, sharpshooter and elite perimeter defender Lonzo Ball, whose knee injury has garnered more questions than answers. Karnišovas hasn’t always sat quietly during the deadline, as he traded for Vučević during the 2021 season.
By most accounts, that move has ultimately backfired, as one could argue Wendell Carter Jr. has been better for the Orlando Magic the past two seasons.
The next two days will be interesting. The near future of the franchise depends on the moves the Bulls make.