Bulls Front Office ‘Blew’ Offseason With Missed Trade Opportunity, Analyst Says

Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls

Getty Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls may have whiffed this offseason despite knowing that Lonzo Ball will miss the entire 2023-24 campaign and having the conviction to go about addressing the void his absence creates.

“If mediocrity is what this franchise wanted, then mission accomplished,” wrote Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report on September 17. “Finding a pass-first point guard who can defend to take Ball’s place as the new starting floor general should have been a must, yet a Jevon Carter signing was the best Chicago could do.”

Carter, 27, had a career year for the Milwaukee Bucks in 2022-23, averaging 8.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists.

He is expected to compete with Coby White for the starting point guard spot.

Swartz also derides the lack of clarity on Patrick Williams, both in terms of his ceiling and future with restricted free agency on the horizon next offseason. There is also the matter of DeMar DeRozan who is heading into the final year of his contract.

“The Bulls’ best trade piece, [Williams] could have been the key to getting a point guard upgrade and maximizing the current trio,” Swartz wrote.

Bulls general manager Marc Eversley said that this season is big for Williams, and he also noted that he wants DeRozan to return after this season if it’s feasible. Chicago also re-signed Nikola Vucevic on a three-year, $60 million contract this offseason and has Zach LaVine going into Year 2 of a five-year, $215 million contract.

There have been trade rumors surrounding LaVine – and DeRozan to a lesser extent – but the Bulls have maintained a high asking price.

Bulls Core Could Face Last Stand in 2023-24

Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has been patient. But there were rumors that he had the green light to blow this group up this offseason if the right opportunities arose. Just because they did not this summer does not mean they will not once the season starts and teams grow more willing to part with assets to win now.

“I…heard from an insider that he believes the Bulls are done with this Big Three,” wrote Sam Smith of Bulls.com on May 19. “Sources who may or may not know agreed. Of course, such an observation doesn’t need Sherlock Holmes.”

Another year falling short of expectations could be the final straw for this core.

“The Bulls are headed towards the play-in tournament once again, with no real hope of internal improvements to be made,” Swartz concluded.

The Bulls may already be working on their next iteration.

Bulls Could Have ‘All Eyes’ on Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo

“I believe that’s exactly what the Bulls are positioning themselves to do, with all eyes on Giannis Antetokounmpo in the summer of 2025,” wrote Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic on August 30. “If such a plan comes together, we’ll suddenly look at the Bulls front office and their continuity plan a whole lot differently.”

Antetokounmpo continues to stir the pot about a potential departure from Milwaukee, saying he will not sign a contract extension when eligible next season if he feels everyone is not on the same page.

He is going into the third year of a five-year, $228.2 million contract.

Antetokounmpo previously teased the idea of playing for the Bulls at some point in his career, though at the time he also reiterated his commitment to Milwaukee.

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