Why the Chicago Bulls should make Lonzo Ball an offseason priority.
Despite an up-and-down season, the Chicago Bulls, for much of the season, even more so after making such a splash move at the NBA trade deadline, had an outside chance at making the postseason. At the very least, they would be in consideration to make the playoff play-in tournament.
After the Bulls acquired Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline from the Orlando Magic, the hope was that this move could help catapult them into the Eastern Conference playoff race. That, unfortunately, hasn’t exactly happened.
The Bulls have lost two of their last three games, seven of their last 10, and are just 10-18 since the beginning of March. Chicago has all but fallen out of the playoff race and currently sits in 11th place in the East and two full games back of the Washington Wizards for the final spot in the playoff play-in tournament.
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The Chicago Bulls need to give LaVine, Vucevic help
Even though Zach LaVine has taken a tangible step forward in his progression this season – he’s averaging 28 points, five rebounds, and five assists per game – the simple addition of Vucevic hasn’t been enough to catapult this team into the playoff race in the East.
LaVine missing the last six games due to health and safety protocol hasn’t helped much either. There’s no clear timeline for LaVine’s return but he will, at least, miss the team’s next two games as well.
A LaVine-Vucevic duo is a great foundation for this team heading into the offseason. But I don’t think anyone would argue that they need to find some additional talent to stick around these two all-star-caliber players.
One player that Chicago could – and should – target during the offseason (and one they were reportedly linked to before the trade deadline – is Lonzo Ball. It’s already been reported that the New Orleans Pelicans would be open to a sign-and-trade during the offseason and this is an option that the Bulls absolutely need to explore.
Adding Ball would give the Bulls another legit scoring threat on the perimeter and defined playmaker next to LaVine. Ball is also a good perimeter defender and has one of the highest basketball IQ’s in the game.
Ball wants to be in Chicago and the Bulls could absolutely use a player of his skill set. The big questions for the Bulls revolve around whether would want to pay him the roughly $20 or $20-plus million that he’s going to command on the open market and whether simply adding Ball to LaVine and Vucevic would be enough to move the need in the East.
Even though Ball is coming off the best season of his career thus far by averaging 14 points, six assists, and four rebounds per game on 38 percent shooting from 3-point range, there’s no guarantee his addition alone would be enough to move Chicago up the East’s hierarchy.
The last thing Chicago wants to do is to build a team that isn’t good enough to make the playoffs in the East before they have to talk extension with LaVine.
The Bulls have some big decisions to make this offseason and there’s no question the team needs to upgrade its roster. Ball should be a priority during the offseason. Question is, should he be the team’s top priority?