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Bulls should make a run at Joel Embiid rather than business as usual

According to coach Jim Boylen, there have been no talks within the Bulls front office about a major shake-up coming by the Thursday trade deadline. Not a shock, considering it’s always business as usual for the Bulls.

The Bulls, instead of standing pat, should consider making a run for the Sixers’ Joel Embiid.
The Bulls, instead of standing pat, should consider making a run for the Sixers’ Joel Embiid.
David Banks/AP

Business as usual.

That’s what it sounded like at the Advocate Center on Wednesday, 24 hours before the trade deadline and 27 hours before man-child Zion Williamson’s visit reminds the Bulls’ front office what a young superstar looks like.

And that remains the problem with this organization — it’s always business as usual.

Overvaluing the roster to make a trade almost impossible, being afraid to admit the rebuild has failed and lacking creativity.

“I don’t think there’s much going on,” coach Jim Boylen said, adding that he has been in constant contact with vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman.

“I think overall it’s been light around the league, not only us. There was one big trade [the four-team deal], but we all kind of saw that coming. So we’ll wait to see. We’ve got another day. Sometimes things pick up, sometimes they don’t. We’ll just worry about coaching our guys, develop our guys.”

Develop what, exactly?

Mediocrity.

Even if the Bulls’ rotation was up and running, where exactly was it going? Maybe the No. 8 spot in the playoffs, only to be a first-round chew toy for the Bucks? That’s not what Paxson and Forman promised when they blew up the roster for the rebuild in 2017, trading an elite two-way star in Jimmy Butler for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the draft pick that became Lauri Markkanen.

They promised a run at a championship.

It’s Year 3, and it’s another run at the lottery.

That’s why Paxson needs to make one more call before the trade deadline at 2 p.m. Thursday.

The 76ers have put the “fun” in dysfunction. Even more so than the Bulls.

“There’s some stuff going on in our locker room,” veteran big man Al Horford told reporters the other night.

With All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons still looking like they’re unable to figure out how to play together, why not swing for the fences if you’re Paxson?

Embiid for LaVine and Wendell Carter.

Done and done.

The 76ers get another scoring combo guard in LaVine and a center-in-waiting in Carter, who can learn from the veteran Horford.

The Bulls finally get a superstar in Embiid. Sure, he’s flawed because of his injury history. But if they are serious about building something special, they’ll need two superstars. Embiid is one, and once Otto Porter Jr. and Thaddeus Young come off the books, they can shop for a second.

Coby White would step into LaVine’s spot, and Markkanen no longer would have the pressure of playing center.

Will it happen? Nope.

“We have not talked in those terms,” Boylen said when asked if a major deal was possible for his team. “As far as a big shake-up or a change in direction, we have not talked in that way. We have not.”

That’s why it’s fitting that Williamson and the Pelicans are in town on deadline day. Like the Bulls, they traded an elite two-way player in Anthony Davis, opting to go the rebuild route. But in less than six months, the Pelicans’ rebuild is so much better. It was better even before they hit lottery gold and grabbed Williamson with the No. 1 pick.

“He’s a physical specimen, one of those once-in-a-lifetime type players, very athletic, super-athletic with a big, wide body,” Young said. “You see some of the stuff on Twitter where he’s like Thanos and stuff like that. I think it’s pretty funny.’’

At least someone at the Advocate Center is laughing these days.