Bulls Notes: Big Three, DeRozan, Green, Caruso

The “Big Three” that the Bulls formed when they traded for Nikola Vucevic and signed DeMar DeRozan to team with Zach LaVine should be considered a “failed experiment,” writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Chicago’s inconsistent play continued Monday night with a home loss to the Rockets, who entered the game with just three road wins.

The Bulls fell to 3-8 against sub-.500 opponents and have lost to a collection of teams at the very bottom of the NBA standings. It was a disappointing performance after three straight road victories, but the players recognize it as a consequence of not being ready to compete from the start, as Houston built an early 23-5 lead.

“At this point, I don’t think it’s surprising,” Patrick Williams said. “I think we’ve shown ourselves when we play the way that we played tonight, this is what happens. So I don’t think it’s surprising. I just think it’s more so a wake-up call.  Just because you win three in a row doesn’t mean a team is going to lay down.”

Bulls management hasn’t shown any signs of wanting to break up its Big Three, but the team is facing a limited timetable if it decides to move in that direction. The trade deadline is only about six weeks away, and a decision will have to be made soon on whether to keep Vucevic, who will be a free agent after this season.

There’s more from Chicago:

  • DeRozan called the Rockets’ hot start “unacceptable” and said the Bulls have to be more focused regardless of their opponent, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “We can’t feel out games,” DeRozan said. “We gotta go out the gate and treat it like it’s the fourth quarter. That’s just how we have to play. We have to be more aware of that.”
  • Javonte Green warmed up with his teammates Monday night, but he was held out so the medical staff could see how his right knee responded to the pregame routine, according to Annie Costabile of The Chicago Sun-Times. Coach Billy Donovan said Green no longer has the swelling and soreness in the knee that has forced him to miss eight games this month.
  • Alex Caruso remains in concussion protocol, but his sprained right shoulder is the main issue preventing him from playing, Costabile adds. “He’s gone through a series of concussion-protocol stuff, which he has passed,” Donovan said. “The next part of him passing the concussion protocol is him doing some form of contact.” 
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