Bulls Notes: Deadline, Vucevic, Caruso, Green, Drummond

The Bulls remain unlikely to trade away one of their “Big Three” in the next few days, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The front office is committed to seeing how the current group will finish out the season, despite a relatively disappointing 26-28 record thus far.

Part of the reason for that is the Bulls owe their 2023 first-round pick (top-four protected) to the Magic, so even if they bottomed out for the rest of 2022/23, they’d likely just be sending a better pick to Orlando unless they had some major lottery luck. They also haven’t received any “substantive, serious offers” for DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine or Nikola Vucevic, a source tells Johnson.

Vucevic theoretically would be the most likely trade candidate, as he’s on an expiring contract. But Johnson says Chicago is confident it can re-sign the veteran center, who is averaging 17.8 PPG, 11.2 RPG and 3.4 APG on .524/.359/.833 shooting through 53 games (33.8 MPG).

Here’s more from Chicago:

  • DeRozan was sidelined for Tuesday’s game in Memphis due to a hip injury, as Bulls radio play-by-play announcer Chuck Swirsky relays (via Twitter). Alex Caruso, who had missed the previous two games with a sprained foot, took DeRozan’s place in the starting lineup. DeRozan missed three games last month with hip soreness, so it’s not a new issue.
  • Head coach Billy Donovan says VP of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas takes a big-picture approach to evaluating the Bulls, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “I don’t think that he would isolate eight or 10 games and not look at — like, I think Arturas, quite honestly, he’s looking at it from the All-Star break last year. Where I think we were, I don’t know, maybe tied for first or second going into the break. And then looking at the break from there. … So I think he’ll look and evaluate our team from after the All-Star break all the way through this,” he said.
  • Donovan also gave an update on Javonte Green, Mayberry adds. Green has been slow to recover from last month’s arthroscopic knee surgery. “He’s not running right now. He’s biking,” Donovan said. “He can do stationary shooting, but they haven’t done anything dynamically with him, lateral or straight-ahead running or any of that stuff. But he continues to progress. The All-Star break coming up will be another important period for him, that week. But he’s getting closer and closer to doing more.” When asked if Green was behind schedule, Donovan said that wasn’t the case. “From everything that I’ve heard, at least at this point, he is on schedule,” Donovan said, per Mayberry. “I haven’t heard of any setbacks or anything like that. … It’s a little bit of time before he comes back.”
  • Andre Drummond is one player who could be on the trading block. He’s earning $3.2MM in 2022/23 and has a $3.36MM player option for ’23/24. The veteran center has been in and out of Donovan’s rotation this season, but he had a big game in Monday’s victory over San Antonio, posting 21 points (on 9-of-9 shooting), 15 rebounds and three steals in just 21 minutes, notes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. “It says a lot about him. It just shows how truly professional he is,” Vucevic said. “When you’re not playing in the rotation, sometimes it’s hard to stay focused and stay locked in. He’s been doing that this whole season, working before and after practice, extra work just to make sure to stay in shape. He played a huge role for us.”
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