Welcome back Pippen Peoples from the All-Star break. I know we are all hung over from the gumbo (among other delicacies) from the beautiful city of New Orleans. We were treated to a very entertaining (outside of the Slam dunk contest) fun-filled weekend capped off with the most prolific scored game of all time. Well now that all of the festivities are over, it’s back to work for the Pippen Aint Easy crew to figure out where the Bulls go from here. Well with the trade deadline coming down the pipe (deadline is at 3:00 pm Thursday meaning the teams must at least be in a serious trade conversation by then) and with the dynamics of the league changing, the season for the Bulls will become clearer . Then after that, the race for the playoffs begins. Here’s some thoughts on the future of the Bulls.
1) Will the Bulls make a “Blockbuster” trade?
Let me put it this way…if you believe the Bulls will make a huge trade tomorrow you’ll also believe that I’m going to be on the “Maury” show along with Michael Jordan to find out who’s the father to his twin girls. Notice I said his, so it’s just NOT going to happen. I have close to 650,000 good reasons to why I am right in saying the Bulls are not going to do anything. That’s the amount of money the Bulls stand at this moment under the Mendoza line we call the salary cap. Carlos Boozer will not be traded. Amnestied in the offseason maybe, but not traded. You probably could see the peace of mind last night against the Toronto Raptors scoring 20 points sparking the Bulls to victory. (For the full recap of the game, check out Ashley Wijangco’s report. It’s a good read.) It is plain to see that the primary focus of Bulls management will be Nikola Mirotic and trying to get him in a Bulls uniform for next season. Will he be here next season? Keep reading, I’ll tell you my thoughts on the situation later. With the reported signing of Mike James for the 834th time for the rest of the season and the signing of Jarvis Vernando from the D-League (I know, I know, who?) the Bulls are probably going to stand put right here.
2) Will the Bulls get the 3rd seed in the Leastern Conference?
It’s very possible. Barring injury, the Bulls have something that they can hang their hat on every single night. It’s called defense. No matter how much or little the Bulls score in a game, that defense will show up every single night. You saw it on national television vs. the Brooklyn Nets. If a team comes to play the Bulls playing pretty or does not have a low post game, odds are very good that they are going to get beat. The biggest reason this team has a shot is one man, Tom Thibodeau. Coach Thibodeau will not use the issues that this team faces like injuries, trades, management secretly wanting to tank to get a high draft pick as an excuse. He also has his best player, Joakim Noah who believes the same thing. With that nucleus working together almost as one, everyone has to fall in line. There is a saying in the business world that applies to these two. “In business 80% of the workflow is usually done by the efficiency of a strong 20%.” If you have been paying attention for the last six weeks, this is the perfect explanation of what these two have done for this franchise. Couple this with the Wizards going backwards, the Hawks running out of gas after the Al Horford injury the Bulls will get the fourth seed. Let’s see what the Raptors do with Kyle Lowry before inking the Bulls into the third seed.
3) Will the Derrick Rose rumors of coming back go away?
God I hope so. I believe the rumors will crank up again by time the playoffs start. Especially with the Olympic tryouts coming up in the summer, I can flat guarantee the reports are going to start coming out, again. Look D-Rose cannot help the Bulls. Sorry. I will probably get cursed out for saying this, but the man will do more harm than good at this point. Let’s look at the facts, he wasn’t shooting well during the season anyway. He struggled finishing at the rim. He hadn’t made the adjustment needed to compensate for the knee injury. If you remember anything I write remember this because it is the truth. Anybody can shoot in an empty gym. Its’ different in-game situations. He’s going to have to change his game to be effective for the rest of his career. He may never be the same player that he was a couple years ago when he was MVP. I’m not hating on D-Rose, he is my second all time favorite player with the last name of Rose. Jalen is the first. More importantly the Bulls have gotten USED to playing without him. The team have a system of playing through Noah and working off the ball with each other. Derrick Rose is a player who has to have the ball in his hands to be effective which is the opposite of how the Bulls play now.
4) What will happen with Nikola Mirotic?
Truth be told, I don’t know. But I will say this I’m intrigued. I wrote one article about this guy and all of you went NUTS! The feedback was so massive, I’ve decided to do a full report on him. For the time being everyone seems to believe that Mirotic will be in a Bulls uniform next year. I sure hope so for the fans’ sake. It looks like every move the Bulls have made (or not going to make tomorrow) is to clear space to sign Mirotic. The Bulls own his rights, but they cannot negotiate a contract on the rookie scale. Throw in that expensive buyout from Real Madrid, let’s just say it’s complicated.