The Chicago Bulls didn’t make the playoffs, won’t get to keep their first-round pick since they didn’t move up in the NBA Lottery, and have still managed to have a better start to their summer than in recent years. That’s because, though they are just rumors, the Bulls are once again being attached to top-tier talent when NBA circles begin whispering about potential trades.
It’s been at least since the summer of 2010 when LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were admittedly close to signing with the Bulls until the Miami Heat found room for Chris Bosh.
You could say almost landing Carmelo Anthony back in 2014 (not when they actually landed him in 2019, counts. But that hope died before even reaching the fanbase as Melo opted to stay with the Knicks as the Derrick Rose era ended in short order not long after.
The Chicago Bulls are finally involved in trade rumors in a positive way. Will they capitalize on that this offseason?
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Fast forward to this offseason and the Bulls are right back in the thick of the rumor mill. From the likes of Damian Lillard and Ben Simmons, even Kawhi Leonard has been photoshopped into a Bulls jersey more than a few times. Taking a macro view of it all, there might not be a better sign of how much of a difference the 2020 season made.
The 2020-21 season was already one of tremendous individual success for Zach LaVine as he made his first All-Star game and will be a part of Team USA Basketball in Tokyo. We also got word on Thursday that Patrick Williams will be part of the Select Team.
But all the positive publicity during the season did was create speculation LaVine should be on his way out.
After all, he has a losing career record, isn’t great defensively, and is due for a new contract next summer. Those would be great reasons to move a player if they didn’t put up Kevin Durant-like numbers this season.
Now, though, the rumors are shifting as they should; towards adding to the LaVine-Nikola Vucevic duo that Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley assembled at the deadline last season.
Lillard and Simmons have been the biggest names that are frequently connected to Chicago, though neither player has expressed an interest in the organization or in leaving their current situations. Still, the Bulls have been fixtures in the hypothetical trades that have been going around of late.
The Bulls have still been linked to the second-tier free agents like Tobias Harris and Kemba walker. But even those proposals reflect a smarter front office in the assets they suggest Chicago give up.
This is all still a far cry from landing one of the premier talents to create a Big 3, but it’s a monumental step in the right direction for a franchise that’s spent years dealing with people assuming they’d make the worst moves. Now, there is hope and an expectation that AKME will do what it takes to improve this team.
Bulls fans haven’t been able to say that confidently in 25 years. Hopefully, this is just the beginning and they’re able to land one of these big fish. It would be the first time in a long time.