Bulls fall short in a loss to the Wizards, but is a bigger loss just weeks away?

SHARE Bulls fall short in a loss to the Wizards, but is a bigger loss just weeks away?
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WASHINGTON — Bulls point guard Kris Dunn is well versed in the business of basketball.

He was introduced to it this summer as part of a package deal that sent Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves.

Maybe that’s why his approach Sunday was to tiptoe around the subject.

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This is an interesting time for Dunn and his teammates. They’re obviously playing their best basketball of the season — despite the heartbreaking 114-110 loss to the Wizards, only their third defeat in the last 13 games — but they know it all could change in a matter of weeks.

The Bulls’ front office is hell-bent on making sure it has as many lottery balls as possible, and a 13-23 record is putting that plan in jeopardy.

The solution would be possible trades of Nikola Mirotic and Robin Lopez in hopes of piling the losses back up.

And pulling the trigger as soon as possible.

“That’s difficult,’’ Dunn said. “Hard question to answer because we’re playing good basketball, and usually when you play good basketball, the players stay. But everybody is professional; everybody understands the business.

‘‘Every guy has to be positive. Don’t try to get too down. Keep playing the basketball we’ve been playing, and hopefully things go well for us.’’

Things started off well against Washington, with Dunn and the Bulls outscoring the home team 38-30 in the first quarter.

Dunn was especially good, not only delivering a highlight-reel dunk but scoring eight points in the quarter after missing the previous game with soreness in his left knee.

The aforementioned Mirotic and Lopez also were huge contributors with 21 and 16 points, respectively.

“After me being traded, I just feel like control what you can control,’’ Dunn said. “[Trades are] something you can’t control. That’s on the front office.

‘‘Our job is to play hard, keep improving every day, have good character and try to be the best teammate you can be. Control what you can control.’’

Coach Fred Hoiberg hopes his players can maintain that attitude no matter which direction the front office chooses to go.

Hoiberg said no player has asked him what’s going on, and he hasn’t queried vice president of basketball operations John Paxson or general manager Gar Forman.

“My job right now is to try to grow this young group of guys,’’ Hoiberg said.

“You have to worry about what’s going on. In this business, you have to worry about what you can control. That’s to compete and play hard and have the focus every day to put yourself in position to win games.’’

The Bulls did just that until John Wall’s layup and free throw put the Wizards up 112-110 with 29.4 seconds left. Dunn missed an 11-foot jumper to tie it, forcing the Bulls to foul. Wall iced the game by making two free throws with nine seconds to go.

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

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