It would be unnecessary for Chicago Bulls to play another game

(Photo by Mariah Wild/Disney Parks via Getty Images)
(Photo by Mariah Wild/Disney Parks via Getty Images) /

As one of eight teams that won’t be playing in Disney World this year in the resumption of the NBA season, the Chicago Bulls are still in an okay spot.

The NBA season is officially set to return within the next two months, as the novel coronavirus pandemic rages on globally. Earlier this week, the NBA’s Board of Governors approved a plan for the restarting of the 2019-20 season to take place later on next month. But this plan to return to play will not include three teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Chicago Bulls.

Here’s what the official press release had to say on the restart plan for the 2019-20 season.

"The vote was 29-1, with Portland casting the dissenting vote, said a person with knowledge of the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league did not publicly release voting details. The National Basketball Players Association has scheduled a meeting for Friday to vote on the plan.Teams would arrive at Disney around July 7 and play an eight-game slate of games starting July 31 at the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex. All teams will stay, practice and play at Disney and the NBA Finals — which would have started Thursday if not for the coronavirus pandemic that caused the NBA to suspend its season on March 11 — will likely stretch into October.“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts.”"

This will have the NBA season set to restart on July 31 in Orlando, at Disney World Resort. But there will only be 22 teams taking part in the season restart. Basically any team that sits more than six games behind a playoff spot in either conference will not get to play in the proposed restart, which will include a single-digit game slate for the remaining teams left alive.

There will be an eight-game slate for teams that are returning to play. They will be playing out part of the regular season schedule, but will be skipping games that would come against teams out of this proposed 22-team return to play.

There will be nine teams from the East playing in this proposed return for the season, and 13 for the Western Conference. The teams that are left out in the East includes the Bulls, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Atlanta Hawks.

While not seeing anymore Bulls basketball this season might seem like a downer, it’s not the worst outcome given the current state of the organization. This gives the Bulls new-look front office regime more time to evaluate what they have in the current roster and coaching staff.

If recently hired executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley feel it’s best to proceed with a full on head coaching search to replace Jim Boylen entering the offseason, they have the time to do so thoroughly. And they have more time to scout out the 2020 NBA Draft class, and this cycle of free agency, ahead of time.

Moreover, this also gives what was a very injury prone Bulls roster over the course of the last two years more time to recover. If the Bulls really want to revamp the roster and head into the 2020-21 season on the right foot, it could come with an extended rest period compared with the 22 teams that will be playing starting on July 31.

Whatever way this season finishes up, any team that makes a decent run through the playoffs is going to head into a very short offseason with a lot to accomplish. Load management will definitely become more prevalent in this proposed restart and all throughout next season.

For the Bulls, injury-prone players like center Wendell Carter Jr., power forward Lauri Markkanen, and small forward Otto Porter Jr., this will be a key time to rest up and get their body right. This will be an especially important offseason for the likes of OPJ and Markkanen.

One of the biggest looming offseason question marks involves what the new front office regime should do with Markkanen heading into the final year of his rookie contract. And OPJ has an impending player option, that he is likely to pickup.

Markkanen missed some time prior to the original season hiatus, put in place back in mid-March. He wasn’t having a very good season as is, averaging career lows in points per game and field goal percentage (even player efficiency rating and box plus/minus rating). OPJ also played in only 14 games while dealing with a foot injury.

All in all, getting the extended offseason isn’t the worst way for the Bulls to end this weird season in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic. They didn’t play well during the original regular season, finishing up with a 22-43 record through the first 65 games.

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Maybe this extended offseason for the Bulls could also lead to a final full on head coaching search to replace Boylen. Most fans would want to see that, and it could make the Bulls a much more appealing destination for prospective trade and free agent targets.