With a little less than a month left before the NBA Trade Deadline, the Bulls Front Office has a few questions they need to answer: Are we buyers or sellers? Do we stick with the young talent we have, or move on? Which players/needs should we target? Which players should we shop?
The Bulls are in a unique situation. Most experts would describe it as “Basketball Hell.” They are not good enough to be a playoff team (and they are certainly not contending for a championship), but they are not awful enough to be considered out of the playoff race (at least not yet) especially in the weak Eastern Conference. So should the Bulls be “buyers” or “sellers” approaching the Trade Deadline?
Considering that making the playoffs was the stated franchise goal for this season, it seems likely the Bulls would consider themselves “buyers.” As of the publishing of this post, the Bulls are 3.5 games behind the Brooklyn Nets for the 8th seed, and 4 games behind the Orlando Magic for the 7th in the Eastern Conference. Relatively small gaps to overcome to fulfill this seasons goal, but only if the Front Office trades for the right talented players.
That being said, they are also only 3 games away from the 14th seed in the East, and 5 games away from the worst record in the NBA. If the Bulls consider themselves buyers and really chase their playoff goal, it will mean leveraging young players with potential (i.e. Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr, or Coby White) and future draft assets to acquire experienced and proven talent that can elevate the roster.
If, however, the Front Office decides that their playoff goal was a little too optimistic for this season, and that the franchise should down shift a little bit, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them behave as “sellers.” This would mean trading veterans (i.e. Tomas Satoransky, Thaddeus Young, or Kris Dunn) to contenders for draft picks or young, back-of-the-rotation players that might blossom into solid contributors in the future.
So, for a third time, are the Bulls buyers or sellers?
I don’t know about you, but I like to have my cake and eat it too. Considering the Bulls unique position (i.e. Basketball Hell), the Front Office shouldn’t think in terms of “buying or selling,” they need to use this time before the deadline for “Roster Improvement.”
Be all things to all teams.
If a contender comes calling for a veteran, ask for a draft pick or two, or three, and make those 1st rounders. If a disgruntled star or solid contributor who fits with the roster becomes available, pursue them with near reckless abandon.
Whatever moves this Bulls team makes before the trade deadline they should be bold and confident. The goal should be acquiring talent. No more trades for Cash Considerations. No more salary or 2nd round draft pick dumps. Identify talented players or extra draft assets and pull the trigger.
The reason this franchise is, and has been, mired in Basketball Hell is the consistent temerity of the Front Office when it comes to transactions. They play the wait-and-see game while hiding behind the salary cap in free agency. They allow other teams to dictate the terms of trades, and resign themselves to targeting low- to mid-level talent, afraid of what top tier players will cost them.
In my “Be All, For All” philosophy the answers to the questions this franchise is asking itself become very simple:
– Do we stick with the young talent we have, or move on? Yes.
– Which players/needs should we target? Whichever improves this roster.
– Which players should we shop? All of them.
If a team asks for Lauri Markkanen, and offers players and/or assets that will improve the Bulls, the FO needs to take the deal.
If a contender comes looking for Thadd Young, the FO must ask for young talent and assets that will, I don’t know, improve the wing and/or point guard positions, and maybe add a pick or two, or three to that package.
The Front Office needs to be aggressive when teams approach them.
Start asking teams for players.
What will it take to acquire Jrue Holiday or D’Angelo Russell?
And not just the players that are known to be on the trade block.
How much would it cost to get Karl-Anthony Towns?
Are Domantas Sabonis, Jonathan Isaac, and/or De’Aaron Fox available?
What about Shai Gilgeous-Alexander?
You never know until you ask.
Listen to everybody. Ask for everybody. Get creative. Take risks. Don’t be afraid to fail.
For a Front Office that seems to have jobs for life, GarPax sure are afraid of failure. The many, many, (so many) safe choices this FO has made over the years, and where’s it gotten them? Basketball Hell.
Stop trying to build a Culture and just build a damn Basketball Team.
That’s it for this weeks edition of Void Screaming. If you have some ideas on how to improve this Bulls team, or players you think they should target before the trade deadline, add a comment to the end of this post or @ me on Twitter, @rokdeezblog. I’m always up to talk Bulls. Thanks for reading and GO BULLS!