Bulls Nixed Trade Offer From Contender: Report

Arturas Karnisovas

Getty Arturas Karnisovas and company are reported to have nixed trade offers for center Andre Drummond

The Chicago Bulls had their opportunities to unload some players heading into the 2023 trade deadline, according to reports, but ultimately, executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas and company didn’t deem any moves necessary.

One top league insider says the team was garnering significant interest for backup center Andre Drummond, specifically, but despite relegating him to a reserve role this year, the Bulls decided to keep him around.

“Despite interest from Philadelphia and other teams, Chicago decided against trading Andre Drummond at the deadline,” NBA insider Marc Stein reported on February 13. “The Bulls, after some January signals that a trade could happen, ultimately proved unwilling to surrender the former All-Star.”

Drummond Hasn’t Started a Game Yet This Season

Drummond inked a two-year, $6.56 million deal Chicago last offseason, but his playing time has become a significant topic of conversation as the year has progressed. For the first time in his 11-year career, he has not started a game.

So far this season, the 29-year-old center has played in 44 games for the Bulls, and he’s averaging 19.0 minutes, 6.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 0.6 steals per game (stats via ESPN).

“When you focus on the stuff you can’t control, that’s when you start getting into that dark place, and that’s something that I can’t control,” Drummond said about his lack of minutes, via Julia Poe of the Chicago Tribune. “It’s part of the game. The stuff I can control is being a good teammate, working on my game, staying in shape and being prepared when my number is called.”

Drummond’s playing time has gone up over the month of February, though. In January, he averaged a season-low 7.8 minutes a game. So far in February, he’s playing an average of 14.0 minutes a game, and Bulls head coach Billy Donovan recently dropped a pretty telling statement about his backup big. “At some point we’re going to need Andre’s skill set,” Donovan told the Tribune.

Karnišovas Says Team Plans on Re-Signing Starting Center Nikola Vucevic This Summer

The primary reason Drummond hasn’t played as much as he has in the past is due to the stellar play of starting center Nikola Vucevic, who is set to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2022-23 season.

Vooch is averaging 17.8 points, 11.5 boards and 3.4 assists for the Bulls this season (stats courtesy of ESPN). He has started 57 games for Chicago, and has played an average of 34.0 minutes per contest.

“I’m confident,” the Bulls VP said at a February 9 post-trade deadline presser about re-signing Vooch. “He’s had an unbelievable year and we want him to be here. I just think for this group it’s important, now that the trade deadline has passed, this is the group we’re sticking with. They can go out there and play and put a foot on the gas and put together a run.”

Since Karnišovas made the above comments, the Bulls have lost four consecutive games (they’re 26-31 at the time of publication) and they have fallen further out of playoff contention, sitting in 11th place in the East. If Chicago continues to slip, it will be interesting to see if Karnišovas doesn’t change his mind about making some trades.

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