It’s been a disappointing season for the Bulls. While no one was preparing for a Championship parade in the streets of downtown Chicago to begin 2019-20, there was some optimism that the team would be back in the playoffs for just the second time in the last half-decade. Heck, even the front office seemed to agree with the hype, bringing in solid veteran pieces like Tomas Satoransky and Thad Young to bolster a youthful, but talented starting lineup. However, as we rolled into Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, the Bulls were on the outside looking in at 19-34, losers of their past four contests.
Understandably, the squad’s arrested development sort of limited what could be done in terms of trades. There’s no justifiable reason to make immediate future moves for a team with .358 winning percentage; yet, at the same time, you could convince yourself to not sell parts with the Orlando Magic scuffling and a mere 3.5 games up in the race for the eighth-seed. Also, to be frank, who were contending teams knocking down the door for? Chicago had made it clear that Zach LaVine was untouchable in negotiations, useful pieces such as the aforementioned Satoransky and Young are carrying undesirable cap hits for the all-important 2021 campaign, and Kris Dunn, maybe the Bulls’ best trade chip, is currently dealing with a knee injury and has no timetable for a return.
When it comes right down to it, Chicago sort of just has to play the hand it’s been dealt. John Paxson stated on Thursday that he expects all three of Otto Porter, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. to be back playing by the end of the month and if the team can keep its head above water till then, who knows? The Bulls might still have an outside shot at getting swept by the Bucks in round 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs. At least there wouldn’t be a lot of travel.