Bulls News: Williams far from return, Caruso close to traded?

Detroit Pistons v Chicago Bulls
Detroit Pistons v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The trade deadline has passed and the NBA All-Star Break is officially in the books. The festivities were fun while they lasted, but it's time for teams to return to the court and lock in for this final stretch of the season. That much is especially true for the 26-29 Chicago Bulls, who will be thoroughly tested in their efforts to get back into the playoff race.

Although the trade deadline was supposed to provide us with answers about the future of this team, I have more questions than ever before. The fact that the front office can't seem to make their minds up on the matter is particularly concerning. Recent updates over the break are cause for concern for Bulls fans who want nothing more than to see this team climb out of mediocrity.

Patrick Williams is at risk of missing the remainder of the season.

After missing the Bulls' last nine games heading into the All-Star Break due to a foot injury, the team was likely hoping their best 3-and-D forward would be primed and ready to go for their final 27 games. It seems Patrick Williams has suffered a significant setback, however, as he has still yet to begin running and practicing with the team.

Bulls beat reporter K.C. Johnson explained how the situation with Williams is currently developing, "Patrick Williams isn’t running yet and Billy Donovan said team will be 'very, very careful' with the forward, who is still experiencing mild discomfort at times with the foot."

Averaging 10 points and 3.9 rebounds per game this year, I doubt Williams has had the campaign he was likely hoping for as he prepares to hit restricted free agency this offseason. Although his defense has been stellar, he can't seem to stay on the court, and even when he is on the court, he's hardly the spitting image of Mr. Reliable.

Torrey Craig would typically be the player who would most benefit from this news, but even Craig is not set to miss another two to four weeks after an ill-timed injury. Instead, watch for Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu to soak up the bulk of minutes, even if it means playing out of position. Dalen Terry, Julian Phillips, and Adama Sanogo may also receive an uptick in minutes, as the young core is in line for some much-needed development time in the wake of these injuries.

The Bulls nearly dealt Alex Caruso away at the trade deadline.

It was no secret heading into the trade deadline that Andre Drummond might have been made available for the right price, but he wasn't the only player potentially on the chopping block. Although no trades were made in the end, Alex Caruso nearly found himself playing for a new team to finish his career-best season.

"The Warriors' exploration of a potential trade for LeBron James got last week's headlines, but the more significant development truthfully was Golden State's attempts to pry Alex Caruso away from Chicago," Marc Stein reports, "The Bulls, league sources say, wound up giving real consideration to trading Caruso on Deadline Day after insisting for weeks that they wouldn't. But Chicago's talks with Golden State ultimately collapsed."

It's clear to see why the Warriors would want a player like Caruso, as he'd be the perfect point-of-attack defender for Golden State's system. Now that his three-point shot is falling at a reliable rate, he'd even have enough gravity to share the court with Curry to form a dynamic two-way duo.

In return, the Bulls could have received a package built around Moses Moody and a future first-round pick. Moody and Caruso are both set to hit free agency in 2025, but Caruso poses a high flight risk as he would likely prefer to join a contender, while the Bulls would still retain the right to match any offers for Moody as a restricted free agency. Instead, Arturas Karnisovas foolishly asked for Jonathan Kuminga in return, which promptly ended any and all hopes of reasonable negotiations with Golden State.

Just like they did with Drummond, the front office may have just missed the best opportunity to sell high on Caruso. If the Bulls are destined to miss the playoffs either way, I'd rather have several promising prospects and future draft picks to fall back on. Instead, the Bulls are going to need these players to replicate their impressive performances just to even have a chance of fielding a middling team once again next season.

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