With trade deadline looming, Bulls show off that team chemistry in win
There has been a little smoke around the Bulls the last week as far as trade rumors, but very little fire. According to coach Billy Donovan, the front office will enter the Thursday deadline with the idea of maintaining the team chemistry unless something major changes in the landscape.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The phone calls have been many.
They’re supposed to be this time of the NBA season.
But unless the current landscape changes before the 2 p.m. trade deadline, the Bulls are looking like an organization willing to stand pat until the buyout market opens up.
Several sources indicated that was the direction it was heading for the Bulls the last few days, and coach Billy Donovan did little to deny that could be a likely scenario. Donovan has been in talks with executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas frequently, and that included another discussion before the 121-109 victory Wednesday against the Hornets.
Karnisovas accompanied the team to Charlotte.
“I think [Karnisovas is] just keeping his options open right now, but there’s not anything that I’ve heard from him where he’s said, ‘Hey listen, this is kind of the direction we want to go and here’s somebody that may be available. I got a phone call on this,’ ” Donovan said. “That has not taken place, but the communication has been there.’’
Not just with the front office and coaching staff either.
Both Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan made their feelings known, insisting that they valued the chemistry and closeness of this roster, and felt healthy bodies back would be all the additions they would need to push for an Eastern Conference playoff run.
That’s carried a lot of weight within the locker room.
“Of course, because you know they have your back,’’ wing Javonte Green said. “Zach and DeMar are the head of the snake and wherever they lead we’re going to follow. Their message has been we’re just going to control what we can control. Don’t worry about the things outside of the locker room.’’
No, that’s where Karnisovas comes in.
There was some smoke around the Bulls last week, specifically a rumor that had them interested in Boston guard Dennis Schroder.
“I think one of the things is if it’s not a player that I have a relationship with, that I have coached in the past, that I have worked with in the past, known in the past, and the same thing with Arturas, I think there would have to be a lot of due diligence on what kind of fit that would be for our team and how that would work out,’’ Donovan said.
According to a source, however, the Schroder rumor was coming from the Boston end, as the Celtics were trying to shred some salary from the payroll. It was an asking price that didn’t interest the Bulls.
There was some initial discussions with the Spurs on Jakob Poeltl, but again a high asking price.
The obvious hole the Bulls would like to fill would be more size in the frontcourt.
“It takes two to tango to make it work, and there’s been nothing that’s been presented,’’ Donovan said. “I think in my conversations with him and [general manager] Marc [Eversley], we really feel good about the group and the chemistry.’’
They sure did against the Hornets, as the defense played more connected and the big three of LaVine, DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic played like a big three. DeRozan led the Bulls with 36 points, while LaVine scored 27, and Vucevic finished with 18, to go along with 15 rebounds and eight assists.
If there was a Bull who should be a bit anxious about a possible trade it should be Coby White, but even he was pretty relaxed about the situation.
“It’s out of my control,’’ White said. “I just go with the flow. I would love to be here. We have a chance to do something special.’’