After making the postseason for 10 of 11 seasons, the Bulls have appeared in the playoffs just once in the past five years, finishing in the lottery in each of the last three seasons. The club’s new basketball operations decision-makers are very aware of that fact, with general manager Marc Eversley telling reporters on Wednesday that bringing the franchise “back to relevance” is one of the front office’s primary goals.
“This is the Chicago Bulls. It’s an iconic brand,” Eversley said, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “There’s a tremendous amount of history. It’s a responsibility. And I think we’ve embraced that.”
The Bulls are coming off back-to-back 22-win seasons (albeit in 17 fewer games in 2019/20), but Eversley said on Wednesday that he feels as if there’s enough talent on the roster to comfortably exceed that figure next season.
“I like a lot of the players on this roster,” Eversley said. “I think if we put together an efficient, effective player development program, I think you will see a quick turnaround in terms of the output that these players give. By going out and getting a Billy Donovan, who brings a different voice to the gym. He brings winning. He brings leadership. He brings player development. And I think if you put that voice at the top of this thing, I think our players will grow.”
Here’s more on the Bulls:
- According to Eversley, the Bulls were patient in conducting their coaching search, interviewing 10 candidates before pivoting and becoming aggressive once Donovan became available. “It’s interesting because as we were going through the process, one of the things that we had talked about was we need to be thorough and practice patience. And when Billy became available, I think (executive VP of basketball operations) Arturas (Karnisovas) called an Uber and he wanted to head to O’Hare right away,” Eversley joked, according to Johnson. “His aggressiveness was thorough, but it was also well thought out. And he had reasons why he thought we need to attack this thing and gather as much information as possible about Billy.”
- Otto Porter Jr., who was limited to 14 games in 2019/20 due to a left foot fracture, has looked great at the Bulls’ in-market mini-camp, Eversley said on Wednesday (link via Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic). Porter is expected to pick up the $28.5MM player option on the final year of his contract.
- In a separate article for The Athletic, Mayberry answers readers’ questions about the Donovan hiring, the possibility of a reunion with Joakim Noah, and the frontcourt pairing of Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter, among other topics.