Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley have been burning rubber to restore the Chicago Bulls’ good name since last spring. With their hightailing, the executive vice president and general manager have watched the franchise bag its highest win total in five seasons.
But as the trade deadline draws near, it might be time for Karnisovas and Eversley to cover the brakes. At least, as it relates to them taking as big a swing, as they did to acquire Nikola Vucevic last season.
If It Weren’t For Bad Luck…
Playing it safe seemed like the riskier proposition as recently as a month ago. If it weren’t for the devil’s luck and Grayson Allen, it still would be. But between Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso having gone under the knife and Zach LaVine’s body perhaps whispering uncle, the stakes have changed.
The six-to-eight week prognosis for Ball’s return and Caruso’s reassessment means the Bulls have to go at least another four weeks, or 14 games, without either of them on the court.
That feels like an eternity for a team that could use as much home cooking as possible come playoff time but is only two games from being on the outside looking in.
The Bulls have done well sitting atop the Eastern Conference going 10-5 without Ball and Caruso thus far. This is especially crucial when you consider they own what would be a league-worst 117.78 defensive rating when neither Ball nor Caruso is on the court. Yet the depth of any playoff run is tied just as tightly to the chaos that duo creates on defense as to what LaVine and DeMar DeRozan unleash on offense.
If his timeline holds up, Ball could play somewhere between nine and 16 games before the playoffs tip-off on April 16. But, Caruso’s return isn’t promised and LaVine’s missed half of the past dozen games because of left knee pain and back spasms.
While there’s been no indication that either ailment poses a threat to his season, it’s hard not to feel uneasy about how an athlete as explosive as LaVine might be affected moving forward.
Will Arturas Karnisovas Trade? No, Paw’s Off
Mortgaging the future, like Patrick Williams, with so much in the lap of the basketball gods seems too rich of a play. Even for the blood of two executives who traded Wendell Carter Jr. and two first-round picks after the Bulls had lost seven of 10 games and dropped to 10th place last season.
The idea of parting with the player Williams can be with more seasoning for one who’s already seasoned sounded necessary about a month ago. Today? Not so much. Karnisovas and Eversley can shore up the roster without sacrificing Williams to do so.
They have Derrick Jones Jr.’s expiring contract and a $5 million trade exception in their back pocket. Plus, there will be players on the buyout market for a change.
Given their track record, it’s safe to say Karnisovas and Eversley won’t go quietly into Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline. But it’s hard to imagine they’ll barrel through the tape this time around.
…Karnisovas and Eversley are the two executives who traded Wendell Carter Jr. and two first-round picks after the Bulls had lost seven of 10 games and dropped to 10th place last season.
Follow On Tap Sports Net on social media!