Bulls - Suns preview: heading out west without LaVine (again)
trade deadline looming, always looming
In what has been an extremely rare occurrence this season, the Bulls totally wiped out an undermanned opponent in their swift disposal of the extremely-injured Grizzlies. For much of the prior stretch, the Bulls have been racking up the victories but given their schedule they haven’t been inspiring.
It’s been a strange follow, because when looking at this team objectively it seems very clear that they certainly aren’t good enough or have enough to look forward to where they can stand pat for yet another transaction period. But the Bulls front office has proven to be delusional and incompetent when it comes to self-assessment, so they may be seeing their place in the standings and other squads in that tier struggling, and thinking: why not keep our group together?
And with each passing game whether he’s in or out of the lineup, it looks like Zach LaVine is, at best, completely inessential. He suffered an ankle sprain (legit injury, this time) and will be out for tonight’s game along with likely a couple more. I don’t think it impacts his trade market, just like his recent passive-aggressive-yet-capable play didn’t impact it either.
We’ll see how the next couple weeks drives other teams to get more desperate, and hopefully we at least get some rumors of increased interest in a LaVine trade. But the Bulls sadly do not feel such internal pressure because they don’t really care that much beyond ‘being a competitive tough out’ (and for as little money as possible), which they can achieve with or without LaVine. And thus why his trade market is so “barren”.
I won’t let them off the hook, but it does dampen interest to believe they think this.
Looking ‘meh’ as ever, the team now heads out on the road to Phoenix. The Suns are in the better conference, so while somewhat similar in that they’re fighting to get out of the play-in, they have a much better roster:
The Bulls barely lost to them at home back in November, but they didn’t have Devin Booker playing then.
Injury Report: Eric Gordon and the dastardly Grayson Allen are questionable.
Bulls have Patrick Williams and Andre Drummond both on their injury report, but probable.
Schedule factor: again…the Bulls keep getting the breaks: Suns played last night! They won at home versus the Pacers. Bulls have gotten screwed a bit in ‘playing so many games’ department, but that eases up the next couple weeks with a lot of off days.
Oddsmakers analysis: Bulls are ‘dogs at +170 to win, Implied final score: PHO 116, CHI 110.5
Game Time: 8pm central. Come back tonight for the OPEN THREAD.
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