It’s the Bulls Podcast #29 and we’re talking about Zach Shutting it Down for the Season, Bulls out of Playoffs, MJ is the only GOAT, 3 Potential Trades for Kris Dunn and a Preview of Upcoming Games.
Welcome to the Bulls Podcast, coming to you from BullsPodcast.com. This is where we bring you the latest news, reviews, rants, rumors and opinions on the players, coaches and front office of the Chicago Bulls.
We’ve got a lot in store for you this episode. Including:
- Should Zach Shut Down The Season?
- Bulls Officially out of the Playoffs
- Lebron Passes MJ, But MJ is still the GOAT
- 3 Potential Trades for Kris Dunn
- Preview of upcoming games
Come TANK with us!
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Should Zach Shut it Down?
Zach Lavine has missed the last 2 games with a patellar tendon strain as revealed by Jim Boylen this week. There is no reason for the Bulls to rush LaVine back given their place in the standings, and they can turn toward the combination of Otto Porter, Shaq Harrison and Antonio Blakeney on the wing while LaVine is sidelined. It may help our tank out tremendously.
But should Zach consider shutting down the whole season?
For a competitive standpoint, of course. It’s well-known how much Boylen wants to win. Remember, he’s the coach who had his players doing extra wind sprints and pushups when he took over. But even the Bulls’ boisterous coach knows what’s at stake here, via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
“What we’re hoping for is every day he responds and gets a little better,” he said. “But it’s not the situation or the time of the year to push a guy to try and get a certain seed or home court. That’s as simply as I can put it. I think you know my personality. I want to win every game and play our ass off every game. But we’ve got to be smart too.’’
With the addition of Otto Porter Jr. and the continued growth of Markkanen, a healthy LaVine would excite fans and probably pull off a few wins. In an era where tanking is the norm and mediocrity is NBA purgatory, however, the risk for those wins is simply too high.
Zach LaVine on approach with his right patellar tendinitis: “There’s no reason to go out there and try to risk anything right now. It’s not smart.”
There really isn’t a better way to say it than that. Of course Zach LaVine wants to be on the court and performing at a high level, but this season has always been about what comes next.
Rest and recuperation is the most common sense approach for their budding star. For the Chicago Bulls, another serious LaVine injury would be too severe to endure.
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Bulls are officially eliminated from the playoffs
With the loss to the Lakers this week, the Bulls are officially out of contention to reach the NBA playoffs. While we all knew this would be the outcome for the season, we did all have extremely high hopes for the season. If you recall, at the start of the Bulls Podcast in August, both Wyse and I were predicting that the Bulls would make the playoffs with the addition of our new rookies and the signing of Jabari Parker. We even predicted that we’d have 1 or 2 all-stars on the team.
Much to our dismay, the season changed for the worse right before our eyes. Players didn’t meet our expectations. We were plagued with injuries. We fired Fred Hoiberg and brought in Jim Boylen and the overall vibe changes from enthusiasm to win to reluctantly praying for losses to support a tank in order to get a whiff of some of the top draft picks.
Lebron Passes MJ, But MJ is still the GOAT
There was a lot of hype around the NBA and especially in social media about LeBron finally passing Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list. I’ve heard talk about Lebron being the GOAT from every jock-sniffing Lakers fan from coast to coast. But is he?
No self-respecting Bulls fan would allow such talk. And here’s why…
Yes, Lebron passed MJ in points. But it took him:
- 150 more games
- 4,942 more minutes
- 868 more Free Throws
- 3,202 more 3-Pointers
Yes, Lebron is going to cement his legacy on the league, but he’ll NEVER be the GOAT. Not unless he finds a way to get 3 more rings, and that’s never going to happen.
3 Potential Trades for Kris Dunn
As we wind down the season, it’s time to start thinking up some great trades to improve our offense and get rid of some of the dead weight on our roster. Fansided just came up with a new article focusing on removing Dunn from Chicago, and there are some great side benefits to this as well. Let’s explore and discuss them.
Scenario 1: Utah Jazz
Bulls Get Protected 2020 First round pick, Tony Bradley and Raul Neto. Utah gets Kris Dunn.
Exchanging a late first-round pick and a pair of end-of-the-bench players is a minimal price to pay for a former top 5 pick in Dunn. However, the Bulls must look to acquire any assets possible this summer, as Dunn no longer appears to be in the franchise’s long-term plans.
Grabbing a future first-round pick would be a welcome addition to Chicago’s vault of trade assets, who own all of their future picks for the next five years, save for two second-rounders. The Bulls also boast an excess amount of young talent, who could potentially be flipped for a top-tier player down the road if the stars align.
Although Raul Neto would likely be immediately waived, Tony Bradley would make a nice addition to this developing Bulls team. Only seeing the court for a total of 38 minutes in his injury-plagued career, the Jazz don’t have time to wait and hope he puts it all together. That fact is even more apparent when you consider defensive juggernaut Rudy Gobert is on the court for 32 minutes a night, therefore limiting Bradley’s chance to shine.
Grabbing a future pick and taking a flyer on a young big on a cheap team control for the next two years would be a sizeable haul for the Bulls. This move would open up the opportunity for fan-favorite Ryan Arcidiacono to return to the team, as well as allow the Bulls to turn their full attention towards finding a starting point guard in the draft or free agency.
Scenario 2: Memphis Grizzlies
Bulls Get Mike Conley. Memphis gets Kris Dunn, Cristiano Felicio, Antonio Blakeney, 2021 First Round Pick, 2020 Second Round Pick.
Conley just might be the most underrated player in the NBA. Even better, his play style would mesh perfectly next to offensive catalyst Zach LaVine. Per 100 possessions, Conley averages 9.5 assists and only 2.9 turnovers. His veteran leadership and ability to create for his teammates would be an invaluable asset for this young Bulls team.
Adding him to the Chicago Bulls’ current lineup would instantly make them a playoff team, possibly even good enough to compete with the current top-5 teams in the East. Typically, a talent of Conley’s level would require a much bigger package, but the Bulls have several factors working in their favor here:
There aren’t many buyers in the point guard market. Nine of the top 10 teams have a bona fide All-Star talent at point guard, the Indiana Pacers being the lone exception. Point guard is simply the deepest position in the league, which makes fetching an enormous package for one much more difficult.
Conley is grossly overpaid. For the few teams that are actively looking to add a top-tier point guard to their roster, most of them can’t afford it. Conley’s albatross contract rules out many of his potential suitors. For the Bulls, however, this isn’t a problem. The Bulls will have enough cap room to eat what’s left of his payroll hit after sending out Dunn, Cristiano Felicio, and Antonio Blakeney. Conley’s contract expires just in time before Lauri Markkanen hits restricted free agency.
Memphis isn’t great at negotiating. Bulls fans saw firsthand earlier this year how competent the Grizzlies’ bargaining skills are, as Chicago sent them Justin Holiday in return for a much better player in Wayne Selden and two future draft picks. At the trade deadline, they downgraded three-time All-Star Marc Gasol into Jonas Valanciunas, a second-round pick, and a few piles of scrap from Toronto’s bench. Simply put, of each front office in the NBA, Memphis might have the worst poker face.
The one clear drawback to this aggressive move would mean the Chicago Bulls would likely witness the departure of the surging Robin Lopez, unless in the unlikely case he opts to return on a veteran minimum. However, they may already have a contingency plan available, as former-Bull Joakim Noah is primed to hit free agency this summer. Regardless, Conley is too great of a talent to pass on.
Scenario 3: Miami
Bulls get Ryan Anderson, 2022 Second round Pick. Miami gets Kris Dunn, Cristiano Felicio.
This certainly isn’t a blockbuster trade, but it’s one of the best moves the Chicago Bulls could make to diffuse the Dunn situation. Ryan Anderson is a quality player that has earned a less-than-stellar reputation simply because the Houston Rockets overpaid for his services.
In reality, he’s a 38 percent shooter from deep with a career 16.5 PER. An added second-round pick serves as insurance from Miami, who seemingly hands them out like candy.
As a career journeyman, Anderson has played in 46 playoff games and could provide invaluable veteran leadership for a team drowning in young and inexperienced talent. His abilities as a stretch-four would make him a great bench piece, filling the second-largest hole in the lineup as the backup power forward. Anderson’s presence would allow the Bulls to divert their full attention to the search for a starting-caliber point guard, as well as serve as a mentor for Markkanen.
The real superstar of this trade, however, is financial flexibility. With the projected cap set to spike up to $118 million in 2020, abandoning Felicio’s contract would be a massive win. Between the entire young core – Markkanen, LaVine, Porter, Carter, and Hutchison – the Bulls only have approximately $62.6 million committed to the group. This would allow Chicago to make a big splash through free agency in 2020, right when the roster is ready to enter their prime.
Last week we predicted a 2-1 record for the week’s games. The Bulls outperformed our tanking expectations, dropping all three of those games!
Upcoming Games this week:
Friday March 15th – Bulls at LA Clippers (Wyse L, Marcus L)
Sunday March 17th – Bulls at Sacramento Kings (Wyse L, Marcus L)
Monday March 18 – Bulls at Phoenix (Tank Battle) (Wyse W, Marcus L)
Wednesday March 20th – Bulls vs Washington Wizards (Wyse L, Marcus W)
Bulls Podcast Call-in Line: 312-239-8586
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Marcus: You can find me on social anywhere, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter and the like, all @marcuscouch.
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Also remember to check out our compilation website where you can get all of the Bulls Podcasts from every single Chicago Bulls show out there over at http://bulls.fm
If you can’t remember any of these, you can check out our show notes for this show over at our website, which is BullsPodcast.com where we have all the links we mentioned in today’s show.
Remember Bulls Fans, our magic TANK-A-THON NUMBER is down to just 16 more losses, and we’re just 99 days away (June 20, 2019) from the NBA draft and only 62 Days away from the NBA Lottery!
Until next time, Thank you for listening everyone, Go Bulls!