A new report suggests that the Chicago Bulls will not be making any trades before the 2024 NBA trade deadline
To put it bluntly, the 2023-2024 Chicago Bulls season has been tumultuous. There have been constant trade rumors and discussions almost since day one of the season. But it now appears that all those rumors were for nothing.
Darnell Mayberry is a Senior Chicago Bulls writer for the Athletic. His new report more or less puts those old trade rumors to rest. Mayberry writes that words and actions coming from the franchise are pointing toward another inactive trade deadline.
“With a week remaining before the NBA’s trade deadline, few within or around the Chicago Bulls organization anticipate the franchise making a major move. If the Bulls swing a deal before the Feb. 8 deadline, most will be surprised. It’s not that the Bulls can’t make a trade, but there’s a prevailing belief that the front office won’t commit to something substantial.”
No moves by February 8th will mark 3 straight seasons of no trades
Over the past three seasons the Chicago Bulls have won one playoff game. A single playoff appearance and win in three seasons yet zero trades have been made.
This is pretty typical for the Bulls. There is a long winded history of the Bulls opting to stick with the status quo. And after the last two deadlines came and went without the Bulls being active, the team’s decision-makers haven’t provided any reasons to expect that to change.
The Bulls have no power on the trade market
The Bulls have no power in the NBA trade market right now for two reasons, injuries and bad contracts.
The Chicago Bulls season has been less than ideal for many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is a laundry list of injuries that has nearly reached the rafters of the United Center.
The injuries to Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic have severely reduced their trade value.
A recent injury to Patrick Williams leaves the Bulls with a weak defensive front court. Which the Bulls will have to weather for a decent amount of time as Williams is not expected to return until a couple of weeks into February.
The Bulls bench has also received blows with Dalen Terry sustaining a right ankle injury in Tuesday’s loss to the Toronto Raptors.
The Bulls have been crippled by losses this season and NBA teams typically don’t trade for injured players. Some of the only healthy players the Bulls have are foundational pieces like Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu. Those two players are looking like the future of the franchise and will likely be staying.
The final nail in the coffin for the Bulls is the poor contract situations they are in. DeMar DeRozan is still a good player, but he is an aging veteran on an expiring deal. Then there is Nikola Vucevic, who is underperforming this season. He is making $20 million per year until 2026. Zach LaVine is on a 5 year max contract that increases in cap hit until 2027 when his contract expires.
Those contracts aren’t impossible to move, but they aren’t very attractive to other teams. LaVine and Vucevic sustaining injuries essentially tanked any trade value they may have had. You would be hard pressed to find a team desperate enough to take on a contract like LaVine’s. LaVine is getting paid like a number one scoring option, which he has not looked like, even when healthy this season.
The Chicago Bulls have once again backed themselves into a corner. Which is looking more likely to result in another complete tear down every day. Nobody truly know what the Bulls will do, but based on context clues from the past, the most likely thing to happen is nothing. Coasting and being okay with average to bad results on the court has been what the Bulls ownership strives for, and it is what they keep getting.
The Chicago Bulls need a culture change. And that change needs to start with the owners. Otherwise the Bulls will continue down this endless roundabout of mediocrity.
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