Bulls Notes: LaVine, DeRozan, Donovan, Karnisovas

The Bulls‘ final chance to make a statement in the in-season tournament ended with a 27-point loss at Boston and that wasn’t the extent of the bad news, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Zach LaVine left the game midway through the third quarter with foot soreness, a condition that caused him to miss last Wednesday’s contest at Oklahoma City. DeMar DeRozan also got pulled from the game in the third quarter after getting knocked down on a foul and experiencing pain in his left ankle.

It has been a frustrating season for Chicago, which went 0-4 in the tournament and has now dropped eight of its last nine games. With trade rumors swirling around several players, LaVine said it’s important to focus on each game rather than the bigger picture.

“You go out there and play, man,” said LaVine, who added that he’s “day to day” with the soreness. “You got a lot of season left. You don’t play the scoreboard. You look at the standings, obviously. But you try to win every game you step into and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

There’s more on the Bulls:

  • Coach Billy Donovan tried a lineup change on Tuesday, starting Patrick Williams and moving Alex Caruso to the bench to stabilize the second unit, notes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Donovan continues to search for a spark that will snap the team out of its early-season funk. ‘‘Yeah, I take ownership in this, too, in terms of what I’ve got to do,” he told reporters. “I’m not obviously making the decisions that maybe (president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas) is making or Jerry and Michael (Reinsdorf) are making, and I’m not making decisions on the court that the players are making. But what do I have control over? What’s my responsibility? Where can I get better and how can I improve to help? I’m a big believer in you are what your record says you are. I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘Well, we had a couple of tough losses, and we could be .500.’ No, this is what we are, and how can we get better?’’
  • Blame for the Bulls’ failure should be directed at Karnisovas, who assembled a roster that ranks 26th in offense and 22nd in defense, states Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. Mayberry argues that Karnisovas should have broken up the core of the team at the February trade deadline and could have done more in free agency than just signing Torrey Craig and Jevon Carter.
  • This season will be defined more by what Karnisovas can do on the trade market rather than wins and losses, Johnson states in a separate story. League sources tell Johnson that the organization is focused on finding an acceptable trade for LaVine, and Karnisovas is telling teams calling about other players that he wants to see what his roster looks like after a LaVine deal before beginning any of those discussions.
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