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The Bulls should be working the scrub market

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follow-through on the win-now trade deadline

Boston Celtics v Chicago Bulls Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

AKME can do no wrong with me, basking in the high impact trade deadline moves that signaled an actual ‘win games’ direction for the franchise.

But, still, it’s irksome...why aren’t they following through and addressing the very back-end of the roster?

It was a problem at the start of this season, where the motivations were more player-development oriented and this new supposedly player-development focused management somehow already liked the GarPax guys enough to not want to try out some new guys.

That opportunity, including a more full use of the G-League, is squandered. But this is a team in a playoff (or at least play-in) chase now. Even if you can’t identify true prospects that you would rather “get in your building” than current two-way players Devon Dotson and Adam Mokoka, there should be work done to fill out the ass-end of the bench.

Cristiano Felicio and Ryan Arcidiacono should never play a meaningful minute the rest of the season. And with the unrelenting schedule exacerbating illness and injury absences, they just may step on the floor indicating an absolute failure in roster management. Denzel Valentine is also likely upgradeable, but I can see the rationale for keeping him in these emergency cases like last week where both Zach LaVine and Coby White were out, and you don’t need a role player but a star player in his own mind like Valentine to generate shots.

The Paxonian edict (repeated by KC Johnson this week) of “well....they’re under contract” doesn’t hold water anymore. There’s no cost involved outside of the few hundred-grand that would be the prorated minimum for the rest of the season for signing a replacement. The Bulls actually have part of their Mid-Level Exception left if they wanted to beat out another team for a player, if that bit of extra money speaks more to that player than a high-minutes role or that on a contender.

You could argue to a free agent if they’re a point guard that signing with the Bulls would potentially mean a high-minute role because the team has none of those.

After the trade deadline discombobulates rosters and several teams give up on the season, there’s quite a bit of waivers and free agent activity. The Bulls have done none of this, and I don’t think they’ve even been rumored to have interest.

This is all low-impact stuff, to be sure, but it’s not zero impact:

  • Gorgui Dieng (signed with Spurs)
  • Andre Drummond (Lakers)
  • Cam Reynolds (Spurs)
  • Mason Jones (Sixers)
  • Jeff Teague (Bucks)
  • Austin Rivers
  • Terrance Ferguson
  • Vincent Poirier
  • LaMarcus Aldridge (Nets)
  • Tyler Cook (Pistons)
  • Marquese Chriss
  • Oshae Brissett (Pacers)
  • Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Blazers)
  • Norvel Pelle (Knicks)
  • DaQuan Jeffries (Rockets)
  • Isaiah Thomas (Pelicans)
  • Ben McLemore (Lakers)
  • Justin Patton
  • Armoni Brooks (Rockets)
  • Justin Jackson
  • Justin Robinson (Thunder)
  • Jaylen Hoard (Thunder)
  • John Henson (Knicks)
  • DeMarcus Cousins (Clippers)
  • T.J. Leaf (Blazers)
  • Devin Cannady (Magic)
  • Dewayne Dedmon (Heat)
  • Freddie Gillespie (Raptors)
  • Damian Jones (Kings)
  • Khem Birch
  • Jordan Bell (Wizards)
  • Jerome Robinson
  • Shaq Harrison (Nuggets)
  • Greg Whittington
  • Gary Clark
  • Ignas Brazdeikis

The last seven of these names were just today.

Those were just the players released and/or signed after the trade deadline. Then there are the following ‘notable’ names who’ve been out there much of the season. Here is HoopsRumors list at PG:

Quinn Cook and Jalen Lecque are among the guards who were on NBA rosters for much of this season before being released, while Jeremy Lin and Gary Payton II are among those whose play in the G League bubble in the winter may have boosted their stock a little.

Brandon Knight is seeking an NBA comeback and reportedly worked out recently for the Bucks. Shabazz Napier, Emmanuel Mudiay, Yogi Ferrell, and Tim Frazier are among the other experienced options available.

(minutes after publishing, Gary Payton II was just signed by the Warriors)

The wings mentioned in that article are mostly the recently-released names above, plus Iman Shumpert, Glenn Robinson III, and Sindarius Thornwell. (they also mention Jabari Parker and Andre Roberson...so ‘notable’ is doing a lot of work here to be sure)

Bigs include previously-unmentioned names of Anthony Tolliver, Tyler Zeller, and former Bull Noah Vonleh plus more prospect-level names like Thon Maker, Mfiondu Kabengele, Skal Labissiere, and Henry Ellenson.

This all suggests a rhetorical question: would Felicio or Arcidiacono generate any interest if waived?