COMMENTARY | This season has not quite gone as planned for the Chicago Bulls, forcing the organization to make some pretty tough decisions about its immediate future.
Another Derrick Rose knee injury ignited a trade that sent long-time Bull Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for Andrew Bynum (immediately waived as a salary dump) and three draft picks. Coupled with talks of using the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer following this season and Chicago could be set up for a very active offseason.
There have also been trade rumors involving Boozer, Kirk Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy -- meaning the Bulls are definitely in rebuilding mode. And with reports surfacing (via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports) that New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony prefers Chicago over the Los Angeles Lakers, that rebuild could get very interesting -- especially considering the other big names that could be hitting the free-agent market this offseason.
The Bulls, however, are not doomed just yet in the Eastern Conference. They are one the NBA's hottest teams over the last month and currently sit in fifth place with a 22-21 mark, just one game back of the No. 3 seed Atlanta Hawks.
While some would prefer this team to "tank" for a shot at higher draft picks, not giving up sends a message to the team's core players, the league, and potential free-agent signees that Chicago has not lost its focus on this season. And led by head coach Tom Thibodeau and power forward Joakim Noah, the Bulls have no shortage of passion to spread around.
Besides, it is all talk at this point anyway. Players have very little time to market themselves during the season, and organizations are forbidden from discussing things of this nature until the offseason.
Chicago is certainly not expected to make a huge playoff run in the East, but coming somewhat close to cashing in on very high preseason expectations after what this team has endured is definitely something to hang a hat on. Allowing all the latest trade and free-agent rumors to deter that, however, could end up costing the Bulls in the long run.
With the season barely halfway complete, however, Chicago will have to work that much harder to dodge the chatter.Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel.
- Sports & Recreation
- Chicago Bulls
- Carlos Boozer
- Carmelo Anthony
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Mike Dunleavy