Bulls Trade Deadline Recap
The Bulls made some minor moves at the NBA trade deadline:
-Jameer Nelson (part of the Niko Trade) was traded to the Detroit Pistons for Willie Reed (Bulls have waived him) and the right to swap 2022 second round draft picks.
-The Bulls acquired Noah Vonleh and Cash Considerations from the Portland Trailblazers for the draft rights of Milovan Rakovic (a European player, never expected to play in the NBA).
-Tony Allen (part of the Niko Trade) was waived shortly after the trade deadline.
Notable names featured in trade rumors but still on the Bulls roster include Robin Lopez, Justin Holiday, and Jerian Grant. Executive Vice-President of Basketball Operations John Paxson said that while their was some interest in those players, teams were not offering enough for the Bulls to make a deal.
While it is a little disappointing that the Bulls where unable to move Lopez or Holiday, it’s not the end of the world. They have both been very good for the chemistry and development of the young core, and it would have been tough to see them leave. That being said, there is still the distinct possibility that both could be traded this summer.
The New Acquisition
Noah Vonleh is a relatively young power forward that the Bulls have decided to take a look at. He is a restricted free agent at the end of the season, so if the Bulls don’t like what they see, they can cut him loose. Vonleh played a single season of college basketball at Indiana before being drafted #9 overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2014 NBA Draft. He was traded to the Portland Trailblazers in the summer of 2015, but never fully realized his basketball potential. Vonleh has not produced on the professional level, but his relative youth and dynamic athleticism make him an attractive possibility for this Bulls team. They can afford to take a chance on him. Worst case scenario, they don’t re-sign him this summer.
Jimmy G. Beat (the “G.” stands for gets)
Friday night was the much anticipated return of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, and Coach Tom Thibodeau, as the Minnesota Timberwolves traveled to Chicago for the only nationally televised game the Bulls will play this season. ESPN broadcast the grudge match, which proved to be a very entertaining, closely contested, 114-113 Bulls victory. Butler was his usual outstanding self, scoring 38 points with 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals in 40+ minutes of play: classic Jimmy. But he was outperformed by the very man the Bulls traded Butler to the Timberwolves to get; Zach LaVine scored 35 points, adding 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 2 steals in 33 minutes of play.
“Outperformed? Those numbers where all less than what Jimmy put up!” True, but… Zach LaVine scored the Bulls final 11 points, and won the game by forcing Butler to foul him while shooting a three pointer with less than 20 seconds. The three made free throws that resulted from the foul put the Bulls ahead by one point. Butler couldn’t hit the final shot of the game, and the Bulls won on the strength of Zach LaVine’s performance.
One Up, One Down
The thrilling victory against the Timberwolves broke the ugly seven game losing streak the Bulls had been riding. Their new found winning streak was short lived, as the Bulls fell to the Washington Wizards the very next day. Friday night’s hero, Zach LaVine, sat out Saturday’s game; The Bulls are playing it extra safe with the young star as he works his way back from tearing his ACL last season. The Wizards took full advantage of LaVine’s scoring absence, beating the Bulls 101-90.
The bright spots for the Bulls included a Lauri Markkanen double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds), a Denzel Valentine double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds), and a near triple-double from Jerian Grant (11 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists). All in all, it was an admirable tank loss.
The Worst Records in the NBA:
1. Atlanta Hawks 17-39 .304
2. Sacramento Kings 17-37 .315
3. Phoenix Suns 18-39 .316
4. Dallas Mavericks 18-39 .321
5. Orlando Magic 18-37 .327
8. Chicago Bulls 19-36 .345