It looks as though Bulls will be keeping their ‘dream house’ at trade deadline

Coach Billy Donovan doesn’t see the front office blowing up the roster and starting all over as a real option at the trade deadline. Not only does Donovan like the roster, but he said the front office might like it even more.

SHARE It looks as though Bulls will be keeping their ‘dream house’ at trade deadline
The feeling around the league is Bulls VP  Arturas Karnisovas won’t make any big deals before the trade deadline.

The feeling around the league is Bulls VP Arturas Karnisovas won’t make any big deals before the trade deadline.

NEW YORK — Bulls coach Billy Donovan really likes his team as it is constructed. He has made that very clear, even going back to last season.

Donovan knows exactly who his players are and thinks they are continuing to improve, despite their 26-28 record.

‘‘We know the things we need to get better at,’’ Donovan said. ‘‘When you’ve played 50 games, it’s hard to say you don’t know who you are.’’

More important, executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas might like the roster even more than Donovan does, which says a lot.

That’s further evidence the Bulls might be very quiet at the NBA trade deadline Thursday and, if anything, might be buyers to a minor degree.

‘‘You mean blow the whole thing up? I don’t see [that],’’ Donovan said after the Bulls’ loss Tuesday to the Grizzlies. ‘‘The way I would look at it from my perspective is I know that I really, really like our guys a lot in terms of working with them and where the heart and the spirit is at. And I think Arturas likes this group better. As much as I do, I think he likes them, too. He wants to continually see these guys get better.

‘‘I would say this: You and your wife go buy a house. ‘This is our dream house. We’re never going to [sell it].’ And then all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Hey, this is what they’re going to give us.’ If some team came with something — and we like our guys — that’s just, ‘Geez, this is too good . . . ’

‘‘I don’t know if those conversations happened, but I think Arturas is going to look. That’s why I’m saying it’s just not about the player; it’s about the totality of the organization and what’s best for the organization.’’

As of Wednesday, the feeling around the league was that what the Bulls deem is best for their organization is staying the course with most of their foundational pieces.

A source said Karnisovas has received a lot of calls, but his asking prices on players remained extremely high. Is that posturing as the deadline nears? Absolutely. But as Donovan pointed out, the ‘‘dream house’’ comes with a high cost.

From a financial standpoint, the rotation players the Bulls have to make contract decisions on after the season are center Nikola Vucevic (unrestricted free agent) and guard Coby White (restricted free agent). So if they’re looking to try to accumulate assets rather than letting players leave in free agency, Vucevic and White likely would be the players to go.

But teams have inquired about White since last summer, and a source reiterated that the Bulls want a lot back for him.

Vucevic, meanwhile, threw a slight curveball into the equation Tuesday, telling the Sun-Times he would like to stay with the Bulls and get a contract extension. Before that, Vucevic would take the high road when he was asked about his pending free agency, insisting he would worry about that after the season.

Vucevic made it sound as though there has been dialogue about his future, with Karnisovas wanting to see how this season ended first.

‘‘Hopefully we can work something out that would be great,’’ Vucevic said. ‘‘It makes sense that they want to first see how this all works out, how we do, how we finish the season.’’

So what will the Bulls look like when they take the court against the Nets hours after the deadline passes Thursday? Guard Zach LaVine didn’t seem to be overly concerned.

‘‘Whoever is here, I’ll ride with them, play my heart out for those guys on the court,’’ he said. ‘‘Same answer as always: I don’t do anything but play basketball, and I’m glad for that.’’

The Latest
Mays died Tuesday afternoon at the age of 93.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are the two most severe illnesses to watch for amid rising temperatures.
Right-hander Keegan Thompson struck out the side in the ninth inning Tuesday for his first save of the season.