“That’s been thrown around all this season — ‘blow up, rebuild.’ It’s not on our minds,” Karnišovas said, via K. C. Johnson of NBC Sports. “I think the moment we changed our minds in the 20-21 season to kind of focus on winning and try to build a sustainable program here, I think that’s what we’re focused on right now. How we can help this group and how we can improve from this year? That’s what our offseason’s goal is going to look like.”
That would suggest that DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic will all stay put. But the Bulls VP also noted that Chicago’s 40-42 record was unsatisfactory, and as a result, he was going to remain open to change in any form.
What if that meant trading a player like DeRozan?
Grizzlies Named Prime Trade Destination for DeMar DeRozan
In his April 23 Q&A column, Will Gottlieb of CHGO Sports noted he thinks the Memphis Grizzlies would be an ideal trade partner for the Bulls where DeMar in particular is concerned.
“The Grizzlies are definitely a team that might be able to use a stabilizing veteran force who can be relied on to score in the half court — something the Grizzlies struggle to do,” Gottlieb wrote. “Getting Tyus Jones, one of the Grizzlies young players and/or a pick could be an enticing package to keep the Bulls afloat now while also replenishing their asset base.”
Jones, who turns 27 in May, is an interesting player. The Grizzlies’ point guard has been incredibly durable, playing at least 60 games every year since the 2016-17 season. He’s due $14 million next season and he’s an unrestricted free agent after that, so there wouldn’t be a long-term or huge fiscal commitment for the Bulls.
In 80 games (22 starts) for Memphis last season, Jones averaged a career-high 10.3 points and 5.2 assists in just over 24 minutes a game, shooting 43.8% from the field and 37.1% from downtown (stats via Basketball Reference).
Chicago is over the league salary cap according to Spotrac,, and while it does have the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception, which is a little over $12 million, re-signing guard Coby White and adding depth is the likely route the team will take.
Still, the Bulls have options.
Gottlieb: Bulls Could Be in ‘Position of Power’ This Offseason
“The Knicks are always star shopping,” Gottlieb added, before listing more potential trade partners for DeRozan. “Portland could be an option. Lakers are a natural match but have cap questions to answer themselves. The Bucks if Khris Middleton leaves. Dallas is desperate to add talent around Luka Doncic. The Rockets are ready to climb out of the basement. Orlando could be ready to make a move to step forward. Maybe a reunion in Toronto could be in order.”
Gottlieb thinks Chicago could have options as the offseason progresses.
“I don’t expect DeRozan to be the first option for any of these teams, but as soon as teams start striking out, they may turn to the Bulls, who may be in a position of power in this marketplace.”
“My responsibility is to look at everything,” Karnisovas told NBC Sports after the Bulls’ season concluded. “At the end of the day, to be a .500 team is not good enough. It’s not good enough for this organization. It’s not good enough for the fan base. They deserve better, so I’m going to have to look at everything. How can I help this group to do better? We have to move forward. But I’ll be open to anything.”
We’ll know soon enough how true that is.