Not only did the Chicago Bulls fail to make a move at the 2013 NBA trade deadline, they had to watch one of their main targets (Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick) move to the Milwaukee Bucks—a team Chicago is competing with in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
All that spells trouble for Chicago moving forward.
Chicago is one of the latest teams that's looking to maintain financial flexibility, and that was noted by ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell in his latest piece about the Bulls choosing to avoid any deals that might have been presented to them.
Coach Tom Thibodeau likes the options his team currently has, and he'll have to like them enough to will this team to an improbable finish if it will be playing in the NBA Finals. Here's what he had to say about the lack of activity (per Friedell):
"I feel good about our team," he said recently. "I feel very good about our team. There's a long way to go. There's a long grind ahead of us, a big challenge, but I like the guys that we have."
That assertion didn't hold true against the Miami Heat on Thursday night, as the Bulls had 27 turnovers in a sloppy loss to the defending NBA champs.
The 20-point blowout loss was at home, and despite limiting the Heat to less than 90 points, the Bulls managed just 67 themselves. It was a game that a shooter like Redick or a scorer like Andrea Bargnani would have been nice to have (two names mentioned in Bulls trade rumors this season), but neither are going to be walking through the door of the United Center after the deadline passed on Thursday.
Although embarrassing in its own right, the loss is also a disturbing trend for Chicago in its last few games.
The Bulls went 2-4 heading into the All-Star break, a time in which they were going to rest up and prepare for the stretch run with inspired play. Instead of that, we've seen two lackluster efforts, and that number go to 3-5.
All five losses were to playoff teams, and the three wins didn't exactly put any distance between Chicago and the rest of the field aiming for the No. 5 spot that the Bulls currently hold.
Oh, and Derrick Rose is still out.
To make matters worse, Redick will be playing for the Bucks for the rest of the season (via Yahoo! Sports). The Bucks are currently 4.5 games behind the Bulls in the East, and a scoring presence like that off the bench could be the piece the Bucks need to pull even with the teams in front of them right now.
Rip Hamilton is still clogging up playing time, Nate Robinson isn't the answer at point guard and the depth has been inconsistent at best. Rumors of Rose waiting until next season to return don't help, and this eight-game stretch is troubling, too.
To be fair, a trade wouldn't have turned this team into an automatic title contender. Only Rose's return could do that.
Still, it would have helped them stay above water in the meantime.
However, by holding firm at the deadline, the Bulls are at the mercy of Rose and his knee to salvage this season. Heck, even Rose's own brother is disappointed in what the Bulls did on Thursday by doing nothing (via ESPN).
If he comes back, you could argue they have an outside shot at making a deep run. Without him, they are destined to more games like the one on Thursday against the Heat. And that was pretty for no one donning a Chicago jersey in the stands at the United Center.
In a situation like this you have to wonder—were the Bulls regretting not pulling the trigger on a deal this trade deadline?
By season's end, they will be.
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