No one necessarily wants to be a flash-in-the-pan sensation, liable to be here today and gone tomorrow. But, in sports, that is the case more often than not as the next “super team” can fast become the next untenable situation.
While the Chicago Bulls (6-9) are devoid of the usual discontent that is associated with those kinds of situations, they are showing similar results which could lead to sweeping changes.
“The Bulls have the sixth-ranked defense, but their starting unit has been shredded,” writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. “They’re allowing 111.9 points per 100 possessions, about the equivalent of the NBA’s 18th-worst defensive rating…and both the Bulls’ best players, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, aren’t stoppers.”
O’Connor thinks those changes could include trading DeRozan to a title contender.
Dubs Could Eye DeRozan
Acquired in a sign-and-trade before last season, DeRozan has turned what most considered to be an abject disaster of a contract into a veritable bargain as he’s showcased his preternatural shot-making ability – and ability that could have him on the radar of a team looking to make yet another title run.
DeRozan is off to another terrific start for the Bulls averaging the third most points (24.2 PPG) on the second-highest efficiency (52.3% FG) of his career.
“If the Bulls don’t get better, DeMar DeRozan would add much-needed shot creation for Golden State,” O’Connor said before adding, “and Draymond [Green] previously recruited him.”
DeRozan appeared on “The Draymond Green Show” on July 28 and discussed believing he would be playing for his hometown Lakers before they decided to go with Russell Westbrook. He also had an NSFW response to the host’s attempts to “recruit” him.
But situations change and the Bulls – losers of three straight and five of their last six – could decide they need to pull the trigger on something.
“The Bulls have the sixth-ranked defense, but their starting unit has been shredded,” O’Connor points out. “They’re allowing 111.9 points per 100 possessions, about the equivalent of the NBA’s 18th-worst defensive rating…Lonzo Ball is still sidelined with his knee issue, and both the Bulls’ best players, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, aren’t stoppers”
This is not the first call for the Bulls to make a trade involving one of their stars.
Given their predicted slide, the Bulls have long been considered a prime candidate to make a big mid-season move. DeRozan is also not unique as LaVine has recently been floated in connection with the Lakers by a rival executive.
Bulls’ Vision Clouded
Ball’s vague outlook only serves to further cloud the Bulls’ potential plans. He is not due back until January at the earliest but head coach Billy Donovan reminded everyone that, by then, Ball will have been out for a year and in need of time to ramp up his conditioning.
The trade deadline is in February but the Bulls could be well out of it by then.
The Bulls are 12th in the Eastern Conference heading into a tough stretch starting with a visit to the Orlando Magic.
Their offseason push for continuity has been hampered by injuries that, given who they have occurred to, should not have hamstrung the team as it has. In turn, they have come under fire for their decision-making including the trade with the Magic that brought center Nikola Vucevic to Chicago.
“Where is this supposed to be headed,” ponders Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report. “DeRozan and Vučević are moving deeper into their 30s. LaVine turns 28 in March, and you can only hope that his knee trouble hasn’t sapped too much of his explosive athleticism.”
DeRozan’s signing has been the best move of Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas’ tenure.
But there is a growing belief that it could be time for the Bulls to cash in on that flash-in-the-pan.