NBA Trade Deadline: Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball’s Injuries Shouldn’t Force the Chicago Bulls to Panic and Make a Stupid Mistake

The Chicago Bulls have been one of the league’s most pleasant surprises. The injury bug has hit the Bulls hard, putting them in a tough spot, with Zach LaVine, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso suffering injuries. However, Chicago’s front office must not succumb to an impulse move before the trade deadline that leads to a massive mistake.

Bulls’ strong start puts them in a promising spot

After a busy offseason, the Bulls have raced out to a promising start, sitting a half-game behind the Miami Heat for the top record in the Eastern Conference.

Offseason additions DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso have played a significant part in reshaping the franchise into a potential NBA title contender. DeRozan has fit into the fold remarkably well, putting together an MVP-caliber campaign, ranking sixth with 26.3 points per contest while shooting 49.5% from the floor, including a career-high 33.3% from 3-point range.

The Bulls have stumbled over the last 10 games, holding a 3-7 record, but remain near the top of the Eastern Conference standings. Injuries have significantly hampered them as of late, as Lonzo Ball (knee) and Alex Caruso (wrist) will each miss the next six to eight weeks due to injuries requiring surgery.

Meanwhile, Zach LaVine returned from left knee soreness scoring 23 points to lift the Bulls past the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday. Chicago is in a bind, hoping to right the ship as their backcourt gets healthy in the coming weeks.

It’s led to potential trade rumors arising as a short-term fix, but that pathway could quickly become a colossal mistake.

NBA trade deadline: Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball’s injuries shouldn’t force the Chicago Bulls to panic and make a stupid mistake

The Bulls will be without two backcourt contributors for possibly the next two months.

However, there is no sense of panic as their busy offseason has put forth plenty of reliable structure for these types of situations. It places DeRozan into a more prominent offensive role, which he’s proven he can effectively handle throughout his career in his previous stops with the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs.

DeRozan’s time in San Antonio showcased that he’s an effective ball-handler as a distributor, averaging 6.2 assists in his three-year stint highlighted by a career-high 6.9 assists last season. Meanwhile, LaVine’s return gives the team needed offensive scoring punch to fill the gaps left by Ball and Caruso’s absence.

Although the star guard’s knee isn’t entirely healthy, he voiced that he’s well enough to help his team push forward.

“I just didn’t want to wait any longer,” LaVine said via ESPN. “I’ve been working out at home and just this is about as healthy as my knee is going to get. Obviously, nothing is structurally wrong like they said. I felt fine; I just got tired of watching the games.”

The injury situation also allows other players to get ample opportunities to fill those gaps. Ayo Dosunmu proved that against the Thunder, putting up a career-high 24 points and eight assists. Meanwhile, Coby White can finally find consistency as he struggled to do some in his bench role.

It also sets the table for Nikola Vucevic to score more efficiently than the career-low 43.4% he’s shooting. The Bulls could easily fall into the knee-jerk reaction in acquiring outside help, but they already possess that in-house.

Must avoid becoming desperate to make a move

As much confidence as the Bulls have garnered after their hot start; the team is performing well above expectations.

Chicago must avoid the temptation of feeding into making moves to right the ship while Ball and Caruso are sidelined. It’s a chance for the team to grow while allowing other key pieces to find their rhythm and comfortable spots in the fold.

The front office must exercise plenty of patience as the payoff could be quite grand.

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