It’s still not quite clear if the Chicago Bulls are tanking or not, but rumors suggesting that they have three more players they’re willing to trade: Mike Dunleavy, Kirk Hinrich and even Marquis Teague; point to the front office not really minding not making the playoffs this season.
The Bulls are 6th in the Eastern conference at 15-18. A losing record isn’t too uncommon in the Eastern conference and from the looks of things, at least one or two teams will get into the playoffs depsite being below .500, so the Bulls shouldn’t be worried about their record.
However, trading Luol Deng, which might have been solely for financial purposes, could be also the beginning of a tank-job and preparing for next season. As hard it is to believe that a team with Tom Thibodeau as its head coach can actually start trying not to win games with direct instructions from the front office, stranger things have happened.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, the Bulls aren’t done dealing players. Considering how short their squad is with Rose injured (probably for the season), Deng traded and Boozer out as well, this means only one thing: Re-stocking for next season, hoping that will be the year everyone’s healthy and they can challenge for a title.
So who is on the shopping list? It’s easier to say who isn’t: Not Joakim Noah, not Jimmy Butler, not Taj Gibson, not Tony Snell and D.J. Augustin. Carlos Boozer is impossible to move, but amnestying him at the end of this season might not make sense with only one year on his contract. It probably depends on what they get in the draft in what free agents are made available.
And who is – Mike Dunleavy, with one more year worth $3.3 million on his deal; Kirk Hinrich, on the last season of his deal, making $4 million; and Marquis Teague, who has one more year worth $1.1 million and the 2015-2016 season as a team option worth $2 million.
Dunleavy has been playing more than expected (28.2 minutes) due to the injuries, but he’s doing well, averaging 10.7 points. His ability to shoot the ball and contribute elsewhere with his passing and playing several positions make him a movable asset, with the Houston Rockets showing a lot of interest. Hinrich has already been traded in the past by the Bulls, and the Golden State Warriors, looking for a good backup point guard (7.8 points, 4.7 assists this season) to help Stephen Curry are very interested.
Marquis Teague? The Chicago Bulls most lost with him running things at the point, and would love to get rid of him. The problem is that no one is actually going to take his contract.