Chicago Bulls have clear needs ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. But their options — outside of blowing up the roster — are limited.
Chicago Bulls coach Billy Donovan is putting his trust in the front office to navigate the impending trade deadline as his team continues to struggle even to get to .500.
With the deadline at 2 p.m. Thursday, Donovan said before Saturday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers that executive vice president of basketball operations Artūras Karnišovas has kept busy looking for options — but he hasn’t spoken with Donovan about any potential moves.
“We talk quite a bit,” Donovan said. “He has not really given me anything specific. … He always tells me (that) when something really comes up that’s pertinent that he wants to fill me in on, he’ll fill me in.
“But he’s on the phone and there’s all kinds of calls and conversations going on with all these teams right now. There’s nothing that he’s really talked to me where he’s said, ‘Hey, listen, we’re close on this or close on that.’ But he is communicating.”
The Bulls (25-27) are in a complex situation ahead of the deadline. Between Zach LaVine’s maximum contract and the difficulty of moving an injured player such as Lonzo Ball, many of their best trade assets are tied up.
Besides blowing up the roster — a concept that doesn’t jell with the front office’s continued emphasis on continuity and consistency — the Bulls don’t have many options.
And outside of briefly being mentioned with Kyrie Irving — whom the Brooklyn Nets reportedly are trading to the Dallas Mavericks — the Bulls haven’t been connected to any potential blockbuster moves throughout the trade deadline rumor mill.
The Bulls have some clear needs to improve their roster: higher-volume 3-point shooting, defensive rigor, rim protection and a longer-term replacement for Ball at point guard.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the backcourt is the Bulls’ main area of focus ahead of Thursday. Although Ayo Dosunmu has continued to grow throughout his second season, the Bulls need stronger depth at guard to improve both their perimeter shooting and their ball movement.
Donovan said he doesn’t hold a veto for player acquisition, but he believes Karnišovas respects his input.
“Ultimately, it’s his decision as to what he feels is best,” Donovan said. “I’m always going to support him and back him on that because I trust him. So if there was a situation where I said, ‘Listen, I don’t think that’s a good idea,’ and he says, ‘No, Billy, here’s why,’ I’m behind him.
“If there was somebody I feel wasn’t a good fit, I would feel totally comfortable telling him that. But that’s going to be his decision and I support him and trust him in that.”