Trade attempts for Zach LaVine could be stalling out for the Chicago Bulls. Ayo Dosunmu and Patrick Williams are working through injuries. And Indianapolis is prepping for an All-Star weekend that might not feature any Bulls players.
Every Wednesday throughout the season, Tribune writers will provide an update on what happened — and what’s ahead — for the Bulls, Sky and local basketball.
ESPN report: ‘zero percent chance’ the Los Angeles Lakers trade for Zach LaVine
The window is beginning to close for the Bulls to make a midseason move to part with Zach LaVine. But with only 22 days left until the Feb. 8 trade deadline, the Bulls appear to be running out of options for a trade partner. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Monday
there is a “zero percent chance” the Los Angeles Lakers will trade for LaVine.
Windhorst reported the issue isn’t any reticence from the Bulls or LaVine.
“If they could trade Zach LaVine in the next five minutes they would trade him and Zach would happily go to the airport,” Windhorst said. “I don’t think anything has changed there. I think they absolutely want to trade him.”
The Lakers had been linked as the top destination for LaVine since reports first emerged in November that the guard was interested in an exit from Chicago. For fans following the trade chatter, it might have seemed like an inevitability that LaVine would end up in Los Angeles, with the only delay being the status of Rui Hachimura and Austin Reaves, who weren’t trade eligible until Jan. 15.
But if the Lakers are truly off the board, the Bulls will need to sweep the entire league for a new destination for their maximum contract start — and they only have three weeks to work with before the window snaps shut once again.
Bulls’ Ayo Dosunmu, Patrick Williams muscle through injuries
Two of the youngest Bulls players are attempting to play through injuries midway through the season. Patrick Williams was a late scratch from Monday’s game in Cleveland with a right ankle strain while Ayo Dosunmu exited in the fourth quarter with a left shoulder injury.
The Bulls medical staff does not believe either injury is structural damage. But these lingering pains are a concern for the Bulls as both players have filled key secondary roles throughout this season.
Dosunmu has been dealing with pain in his left shoulder all season. He ran into the stanchion in Saturday’s game in San Antonio, which reignited the injury. On Monday, Dosunmu was able to play 19 minutes off the bench before he collided with Cavaliers guard Caris LeVert, then crashed into the scorer’s table.
Although Dosunmu described the injury as a “stinger,” he also said his arm has gone numb each time he aggravates the injury. He has not undergone any scans on his shoulder.
“It just went weak,” Dosunmu said. “Pretty much, it had no flexibility in it, not a lot of mobility in it. And then five, 10, 15 minutes later, it cooled off. I don’t think I should have to miss anything. After 30 minutes, after I got some work on it, it feels good. It’s just the initial pain is a little frustrating.”
Indianapolis promotes All-Star weekend with a basketball court in the airport
All-Star weekend is a month away and Indianapolis has advertised the event to tourists in a splashy way: installing a full-length regulation basketball court on the concourse at Indianapolis International Airport.
The Pacers and IND debuted the court last week. As of now, both baskets are roped off to prevent travelers from engaging in pickup sessions during their layovers, but that didn’t keep fans from making jokes about getting up shots on the way to their gate.
The 2024 All-Star Weekend will take place in Indianapolis from Feb. 16-18.
Number of the week: 4
It’s been four years since the Bulls didn’t send a single player to the NBA All-Star game. But the team is on track to go without a representative at this year’s festivities as the early rounds of fan voting continue.
DeMar DeRozan was ranked eighth overall among Eastern Conference guards in the first round of fan voting, but he continues to slip further behind competitors like LaMelo Ball and Jrue Holiday. While DeRozan typically scores higher in player and coach voting than he does with fans, he isn’t currently projected to land high enough in fan voting for that to matter.
Neither of the Bulls’ two players eligible for the Rising Stars competition — Dalen Terry and Julian Phillips — play a large enough volume of minutes to earn a spot on that roster, which featured Ayo Dosunmu in the last two seasons. And with his 3-point shot volume slipping slightly in recent weeks, it appears Coby White could also miss an invitation to the 3-point contest.
The Bulls had at least one All-Star on the roster the last three seasons: DeMar DeRozan in 2022 and 2023, and Zach LaVine in 2021 and 2022. Before that, the Bulls had another four-year dearth without an All-Star from 2016 when Jimmy Butler represented Chicago at the All-Star game in Toronto.
Week ahead: Bulls
•Thursday: @ Toronto Raptors, 6:30 p.m., TNT
•Saturday: Memphis Grizzlies, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Chicago
“That man had family, friends that are still here that ought to be appreciated and shouldn’t be disrespected in no type of way, by hearing boos or anything like that. It just sucks that their family had to endure something like that. You can never take away what he created. Without Jerry, there wouldn’t be the historic Chicago Bulls. You’ve got to give him credit for as long as basketball is around.” — DeMar DeRozan after the Bulls crowd booed Jerry Krause during a half-time Ring of Honor celebration Friday