For the third year running, the Chicago Bulls remained inactive at the NBA trade deadline, opting not to engage in any trades.
While peers like the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors were busy enhancing their squads with key acquisitions, the Bulls chose to stay put as the deadline passed at 2 p.m. Thursday. Their last trade deadline move dates back to 2021, marking a period of minimal activity with just a single trade executed since then.
Under the leadership of Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas, the Bulls have consistently emphasized stability over the past three years. This approach has led to a mixed bag of results, with the team posting a 110-105 record in regular season play over the last 2 and a half years. Their playoff journeys during this period have been short-lived, including a first-round exit at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2022 and bowing out in the play-in tournament against the Miami Heat in 2023. As of Thursday night, the Bulls were in ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings, with a 24-27 record, positioning them for another play-in tournament appearance but still 4 and a half games shy of the sixth spot for an automatic playoff berth.
The trade market this season hinted at a potential shift in strategy for the Bulls, especially with rumors about moving Zach LaVine, who expressed a desire to leave Chicago in November. However, LaVine’s foot injury, which eventually led to the end of his season, thwarted any trade possibilities. With LaVine sidelined, the Bulls explored other trade avenues with players like backup center Andre Drummond, veteran forward DeMar DeRozan, and defensive ace Alex Caruso. Yet, in the end, the Bulls maintained their course of inaction.
Despite having an available roster slot, the Bulls might still look to the buyout market to bolster their lineup, especially with Patrick Williams out due to a left foot injury. However, with the trade deadline now behind them, any significant roster changes are likely postponed until the offseason.