Bernstein: Bulls Tell Us 'This Is Fine'

Chicago made no moves as the trade deadline passed Thursday.

Dan Bernstein
February 06, 2020 - 3:13 pm

(670 The Score) What’s left of the 2019-'20 Bulls will be left to drag themselves to the finish line of the season and back to their well-earned place in the draft lottery.

There were no trades for Bulls executives John Paxson and Gar Forman as the deadline passed Thursday afternoon, no tinkering around the margins to attempt to get better even speculatively by some combination of draft pick acquisition, creating a more advantageous salary cap position or carving out some targeted developmental playing time.

There’s no need for any of that, apparently, because it’s all going so well.

The Bulls' stated commitment to compete for a playoff spot seems more ridiculous than ever, almost as much as envisioning the resulting series against the Bucks in which they would get rag-dolled. There would be no meaning attached, not for a team this bad.

The whole idea of signing Thad Young and Tomas Satoransky was to provide veteran stability for an improving core of foundational players, enough to play at a level that could convince star free agents that this was a viable destination.

That didn’t last long. Young has been a bad fit and a vocally unhappy camper, while Satoransky has tried to figure out when and where he can operate in an offense designed for better shooters. Both should be on other teams right now, their value here obviated so quickly by injury and incompetence.

Maybe nobody wanted Denzel Valentine, but I’d like to know how hard the 2016 first-round pick was shopped. Flawed as he is athletically, he hits 3-pointers with his feet set.

There's no core here — at least not a healthy one — and no clear way to see a recovery from such a swift tailspin in the short or medium term. The comically overmatched coach has been tuned out, the most talented scorer is operating in his own orbit and Lauri Markkanen is reportedly itching to leave ASAP if nothing changes.

Nothing changed.

Some moves might have begun to give us a glimpse of the long term, but there's no current reason to believe there's even an awareness of what's happening with the Bulls, let alone a coherent plan to get them out of it.

It would be reassuring to know that those in charge of this see what's so obviously and systemically wrong, with pieces that don’t fit being moved around the board by a coach with only the vaguest sense of what he’s doing. If it’s not clear to management, it’s past time for new management.

Bulls basketball just keeps ... happening. It exists with the inertia of occasional mediocrity, never showing why we should believe it can be anything more. This roster stays at least good enough for that.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in midday. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.