As the remaining four playoff teams battle it out for an NBA Championship, the Chicago Bulls’ offseason is getting underway. After making a big-time trade for Nikola Vucevic and signing key pieces in DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso, nothing has gone Chicago’s way. Injuries have gotten in the way, but all they have to show for their moves is a first-round playoff exit in 2022.
Now, they’ll need to take a hard look in the mirror and decide what direction they want to go in moving forward. Are they willing to accept what seems to be a middle-of-the-pack team with hopes of finding another piece of the puzzle this summer? Or should they tear things down and start from scratch again? Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic thinks the latter could be smarter.
In a recent mailbag article, Mayberry detailed Chicago’s options this offseason. While he noted the front office’s apparent desire to keep the rester intact, he also stated that trading one of DeRozan or Zach LaVine could be the Bulls’ best path out of mediocrity.
Chicago Bulls could ditch DeMar DeRozan or Zach LaVine to reset
Mayberry wrote the following of a potential DeRozan or LaVine trade:
DeRozan is entering the final year of his contract, and the Bulls know they are nowhere close to a championship-caliber team even with him. So why keep him for what could be one last, mediocre season? Meanwhile, they might want to get off the final four years of LaVine’s max contract now rather than continue to build around him. Parting with one or both will bring the quickest reboot. I’d love to see what the Bulls would be able to extract in either hypothetical scenario.
If the Chicago Bulls do nothing, nothing will change
In addition, Mayberry also pointed out that accepting the current Bulls core as it is would be a mistake:
But to pull themselves out of mediocrity — it’s not a mess — the Bulls first must concede that the ceiling of this current core is limited and likely has already been hit. Then they must pivot and part with the players they seem to be overvaluing in terms of their importance to the franchise’s long-term health. If Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vučević all return next season, I doubt much will change in the team’s results.
Now is the time for the Chicago Bulls to shake things up
This summer is the perfect time for the Bulls to blow up the roster.
DeRozan will be on an expiring contract, meaning teams could be more willing to take a chance on him. (It will also be Chicago’s last chance to trade him and get something in return.)
LaVine has plenty of years left on his deal, so another team looking to compete would feel comfortable having him for the long term.
If Chicago wants the best bang for their buck, trading their stars this offseason would be the best way to do it.
Source: Yahoo Sports