The Chicago Bulls can avoid mediocrity and we have a plan on how they can do that
As NBA free agency cools down we see the landscape for the next NBA forming and in the meantime, the Chicago Bulls are in a position where they are, “on the outside looking in” for being a finals-level team.
The Bulls finished the season with a first-round playoff exit in a series where they weren’t picked to win more than one game. It was clear in the series the Bulls had no answer for Giannis Antetokounmpo and as the rest of the Eastern Conference reloads for the next, what can Chicago do to maintain relevance and improve upon before
Depth Depth Depth
The acquisition of Andre Drummond in the offseason gives the Bulls a reliable second option after an aging Nikola Vucevic and adding Goran Dragic helps hold the backcourt together if Lonzo Ball or AlexCaruso go down again, but before the Bulls settle into their team composition for the season they should consider adding more depth to compete on the same level as other championship contenders. Possible targets could be, Markieff Morris, Carmelo Anthony, Dennis Schroder, and Montrezl Harrell on one or two-year deals.
Make a massive push for Kevin Durant and destroy the future
It may not seem likely, but if the Bulls could acquire the slim reaper while still keeping something of this starting five intact the team could be considered title favorites. However, because Minnesota traded everything but the stadium for Rudy Gobert and set the standard of nothing short of 5 picks or a load of players. What package can Chicago have that would give them the best shot at Durant and the title?
A package focused on moving DeMar DeRozan and/or Nikola Vucevic, trading a younger star the Brooklynn Nets can build around (Caruso, Patrick Williams, and/or Coby white), both Portland’s 2023 first-round pick and Chicago’s 2024 and 2026 first-round draft pick.
Plan for the next three years
If the Bulls don’t pay the king’s ransom for Durant take a look at who they can get for who they have while LaVine’s deal plays out. The Bulls are in dire need of a forward who can guard the multitude of superstar forwards in the east. In the last two drafts, the bulls have taken a guard (Dalen Terry, Patrick Williams) while picking up guards Lonzo ball, Alex Caruso, and DeMar DeRozan.
The Bulls are backed up at guard leaving them thin and mismatched due to DeRozan’s lack of size. Chicago lets their young talent develop, Terry and Williams show signs of stardom and grow behind their vets. Chicago sees what the landscape of the NBA is at that point and makes a decision on the future of DeRozan. The league has been trending more and more guard centric in recent years so the Bulls loading up on guards could pay out in the next three years.
Shop Vucevic and DeRozan
Make the transition from rebuilding to competing as short-term as possible. I know it feels like yesterday the Bulls were rebuilding but the way this team is built is too old school for today’s NBA. DeRozan’s inability to extend the floor with a consistent three-point shot, Vucevic’s three-point percentage dropped off of a cliff to 30% in 2022, and his lack of a defensive impact hindered the Bulls. Too many teams lose their stars for nothing in return and Chicago cannot afford to be one of those teams. Even if it’s something little like moving Vucevic to the Wizards for Kyle Kuzma or Rui Hachimura, something is still better than nothing for this team.
Move LaVine before the trade deadline
Picture this, it’s February 4th, 2023 the Bulls are looking at locking in the 4th seat again in the east. The Nets have been plagued with injuries all season. KD has missed 20 games because of an ankle sprain, Ben Simmons still hasn’t played a game and Kyrie was traded to the Lakers. LaVine is a borderline all-star and Chicago’s most valuable piece. The Nets said they want a young star to build around plus draft capital for Durant. The market of LaVine with that contract is smaller but not gone completely.
Bear with me, the Bulls trade LaVine, Williams, Caruso, and their 2024 first for Durant. Now you may be asking “Why to sign a player to a max contract then trade him?” Because you think you can win the title this year and in the NBA all that matters is winning.
We’ve seen teams like this Bulls team year after year, decade after decade; The Jazz and Pacers in the ’90s, The Lob City Clipper, The Grit, and Grind Grizzlies, the 2002 Kings, Either of the two Magic teams, the 2012 Thunder or the 2012 Bulls. Even this last iteration of the Utah Jazz, a team that just couldn’t get over the hump.
Just like the 73-9 Warriors.
“It don’t mean a thing without a ring.”
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