Bulls stay quiet as trade deadline comes and goes
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It was a good day for Mike Dunleavy.
The veteran small forward’s right ankle held up, and more importantly, he wasn’t pulled out of practice as the Thursday NBA trade deadline was winding down.
Not that many Bulls players were worried about a change of address coming.
“It’s good not to get pulled out of practice,’’ Dunleavy said with a smirk, when asked about what trade deadline days are like in the Association. “We’re ready for the second half.’’
That’s exactly why the Bulls didn’t pull the trigger on a move.
A count could be done on one hand on how many times this season coach Tom Thibodeau has had the entire roster healthy and able to practice, and with Thursday the latest, the hope is that the key addition for this franchise will be health.
“I think so,’’ Dunleavy said, when asked if there were currently enough pieces on the roster for a run. “Everybody getting things on the same page and getting into a flow. I thought we had a good four-game stretch to finish the first half of the season. Quite honestly, it would’ve been nice to keep playing because we had a good rhythm. At the same time, physically I think guys need a little break. So [the All-Star Break] was good and hopefully we can pick up where we left off.’’
They will do so with Jimmy Butler (right shoulder) expected back in the starting lineup Friday in Detroit, and Kirk Hinrich (turf toe) expected back to his bench role.
And while VP of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman were involved in several rumors the 48 hours leading up to the deadline, nothing serious seemed to surface.
“Yeah, we feel good about our team,’’ Thibodeau said. “I’m sure John and Gar [were] talking to people. This time of the year every team is in contact with everybody, and that’s sort of the nature of the business. In our case, we’ve got good players so people are going to call us too. We feel good about the people that are here.’’
Thibodeau said the usual protocol between the front office and himself in the past had been that if something was materializing they would run it by him. It never reached that step this time around.
“Yeah, that’s their thing,’’ Thibodeau said about staying out of the trade rumors. “[The front office’s] job is to see what’s going on in the league and if they think it’s something that’s interesting, they’ll talk to me about it. But I don’t want to hear about their daily conversations with everybody in the league.’’
Thibodeau wouldn’t mind staying away from conversations involving team trainers, as well. Those haven’t ended well very often this season, evident by the fact that the projected starting five have only played 16 games together.
Game No. 17 could be on the horizon in Detroit.
“That’s huge,’’ Dunleavy said of building continuity. “At the same time, injuries happen. There’s nothing you can do about it. If a guy goes down, the next guy has to step up.’’
The bigger question now facing this roster is with 28 regular-season games left, was there enough time to get that continuity playoff ready?
“I don’t see why not,’’ Dunleavy said. “It’s really the only option we have right now. We believe we can do it in that amount of time.
“We just have to grow a little bit more and stay healthy and sharpen things up.’’