Entering the 2023 offseason, several questions surrounded the Chicago Bulls’ plans for the future. Ideally, this summer would have provided us with the answers to the questions, but it actually ended up yielding far more uncertainties regarding the trajectory of this team moving forward. By re-signing the core to extensions and failing to make any truly impactful moves, just what are Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley planning?
Many hoped the front office would recognize that this team wasn’t going anywhere, and decide to blow it up at last year’s trade deadline. When that didn’t happen and the Bulls failed to move up in the draft lottery, the next best option for Chicago seemed to involve considering a true retool by making a few moves to reshape the roster in a way where the pieces could complement each other better.
Bulls general manager Marc Eversley, however, had some other ideas. Not only does he appear unaware of what the word “retool” actually means, but he insists that running back this core with only a few changes to the bench would be enough to suffice for now.
Here’s what Eversley told Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic when asked about Chicago’s direction as a franchise:
"“We sat back and identified some things that we wanted to address this offseason to help the group. There are a couple of paths we could have gone. We could have torn it down. We could have rebuilt. We could have retooled. We chose to retool.”"
The Bulls must pick a real direction if they wish to return to relevance in the NBA anytime soon.
You can see where my frustration stems from regarding his haphazard use of the word retool, I hope. Although I like the additions of Jevon Carter, Torrey Craig, and Julian Phillips, these are not difference-makers. These are players that impact the margins, but won’t be anywhere near enough to lift Chicago up from its poor 40-win performance last year.
Eversley made it clear that keeping this core together was their top priority this summer, as seen with the contract extensions to Nikola Vucevic, Coby White, and Ayo Dosunmu. “There’s not many starting centers in the NBA,” Eversley told NBC Sports Chicago, “So if Vooch were to go away, how would you replace him? Those options were just not appealing to us.”
His desire for continuity extends past just this season, however, as he explains we could see more of the same from the front office in coming years. Most notably, he singled out impending free agent DeMar DeRozan as someone he’d like to keep around for the long haul.
"“DeMar’s been great. He’s been terrific for this group, not only on the court but off the court. He’s been a leader. I would love DeMar to be part of this program long term. Let’s see how that plays out and what that looks like going forward. When those conversations take place, we’ll speak about that more when that happens. But we hope Deebo’s back. He’s been an integral part of this program’s success. We hope he is here long term.”"
Although I do expect to see the Bulls bounce back stronger next year, I can’t help but be disappointed by this news. As currently constructed, this team is not built for postseason success. Running it back each year achieves nothing more than job stability for a management duo that knows ownership prioritizes profits over team success.
I can’t say I blame Eversley and Arturas Karnisovas for doing whatever is necessary to hold down one of the premier jobs in the sporting world, but as a fan, it hurts to see continual ineptitude hold the Bulls back from reaching their full potential. Just like GarPax before them, AKME may already have begun to wear the patience of us fans very thin.