Luol Deng looked like a star, Taj Gibson had a career high, and even Tony Snell showed signs of life after a slow start to the season.
It all sparked thoughts of what the Bulls could have been if Rose hadn't torn his meniscus. The Bulls still hadn't seen Derrick Rose play at a really high level. Joakim Noah still hadn't found his groove, but the players the cast was actually coming together well.
Now Luol Deng's play just servers to increase his trade value for a move the Bulls should [but quite possibly won't] make. Will management get past their thoughts of competing to new end this year to build the best team they can for the future? Bulls fans can only wait and see.
It's tough watching games.
For me, I watch hoping for the players to play well while ultimately rooting for lotto position over wins. Maybe it makes me a bad fan to want to wash my hands of this season and hope for a 7-75 finish right now. We've been too close to the championship to get excited about a first round exit.
We know building on this core will take multiple subtractions before it comes back with the right additions to compete. There's nothing to be gained for the confidence of the team by running through the playoffs either.
Tony Snell finding his shot
I wouldn't go so far to say Tony Snell is playing great, but with Rose and Butler out, Snell is getting his opportunity and last night made something of it. It was Snell's first high quality game of the season. He knocked down three of five from beyond the arc and scored a career high 13 points.
Obviously Tony has a long way to go before we can feel confident in his ability to contribute in the future, but each journey starts with a small step.
Maybe Marquis Teague isn't a piece
Teague presently has a PER of -7.9. To put it in perspective, no player has ever finished a season with a worse PER and played more than 60 minutes (Teague has presently played 80). Thus you could make the case that if Teague didn't play another minute this year that he'd finish with the worst season in NBA history.
Unlike Snell, Teague, not making so much of the opportunity so far. We'll see if he can turn something around. He'll definitely have as much opportunity as Tom Thibodeau can spare.
Give Thibs some credit
There's no way you can tell me that Marquis Teague's a better option than Mike James, but Thibodeau keeps playing him along with giving Tony Snell some burn. Perhaps it's simply management mandate, but Teague's getting a legit chance to try and find his way.
As noted above, he hasn't done so much in terms of finding it yet, but it's nice to see him still get the opportunity.
Extend Deng or ship him off fast
The Bulls don't really need wins right now. Unless Deng's going to be part of the future, it makes sense to make him part of the past as soon as possible, because he's going to help the Bulls gut out these games against the crappy teams.
In the meantime, performances like this will help raise his value for any teams considering making a move for him.
Bynum + Waiters for Deng?
The Cavs have put Dion Waiters on the trading block according to Chris Broussard. The Bulls, Knicks, and 76ers were the there teams linked to the Cavs. The one deal that makes sense for the Bulls is Waiters+Bynum for Deng.
The Bulls save a good chunk of luxury tax in the transaction after waiving Bynum and will get a piece they can potentially use for the future in Waiters.
I'm not particularly high on Dion Waiters right now though, he had a pedestrian first season and is known for having a bad attitude. Maybe a change of scenery will help him out, and he's only been in the league for a single season.
That said, when another team wants to dump their high potential first round draft pick after one season it doesn't tell you something particularly good about the odds of it working out. Best case, he's probably a JR Smith. Now the Bulls could absolutely have used a JR Smith at various times, but Chicago shouldn't go nuts trying to make something happen.
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