Bulls News: Williams far from return, Caruso close to trade

The NBA All-Star Break has officially ended and the trade deadline has gone. While the celebrations were enjoyable, it’s now time for teams to get back on the court and focus on the remaining games of the season. This is especially true for the Chicago Bulls, who are currently 26-29 and will face intense competition as they attempt to re-enter the postseason.

Even though the trade deadline was meant to provide us information about this team’s future, I now have more questions than ever. It’s especially troubling that the front office can’t seem to come to a decision on the subject. Bulls supporters who want nothing more than to see their side rise above mediocrity are concerned about the updates that have been released during the break.

Patrick Williams is at risk of missing the remainder of the season.

With a foot injury that kept him out of the Bulls’ final nine games before the All-Star Break, the team was probably expecting that its greatest 3-and-D forward would be fully recovered and ready to go for the final 27 games. But since Patrick Williams hasn’t started jogging and working out with the squad yet, it appears that he has had a serious setback.

“Patrick Williams isn’t running yet and Billy Donovan said team will be’very, very careful’ with the forward, who is still experiencing mild discomfort at times with his foot,” Bulls beat reporter K.C. Johnson explained the present state of affairs involving Williams.

Averaging 10 points and 3.9 rebounds per game this year, I doubt Williams has had the campaign he was likely hoping for as he prepares to hit restricted free agency this offseason. Although his defense has been stellar, he can’t seem to stay on the court, and even when he is on the court, he’s hardly the spitting image of Mr. Reliable.

Torrey Craig would typically be the player who would most benefit from this news, but even Craig is not set to miss another two to four weeks after an ill-timed injury. Instead, watch for Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu to soak up the bulk of minutes, even if it means playing out of position. Dalen Terry, Julian Phillips, and Adama Sanogo may also receive an uptick in minutes, as the young core is in line for some much-needed development time in the wake of these injuries.

The Bulls nearly dealt Alex Caruso away at the trade deadline.

Detroit Pistons v Chicago Bulls

It was no secret heading into the trade deadline that Andre Drummond might have been made available for the right price, but he wasn’t the only player potentially on the chopping block. Although no trades were made in the end, Alex Caruso nearly found himself playing for a new team to finish his career-best season.

“The Warriors’ exploration of a potential trade for LeBron James got last week’s headlines, but the more significant development truthfully was Golden State’s attempts to pry Alex Caruso away from Chicago,” Marc Stein reports, “The Bulls, league sources say, wound up giving real consideration to trading Caruso on Deadline Day after insisting for weeks that they wouldn’t. But Chicago’s talks with Golden State ultimately collapsed.”

It’s clear to see why the Warriors would want a player like Caruso, as he’d be the perfect point-of-attack defender for Golden State’s system. Now that his three-point shot is falling at a reliable rate, he’d even have enough gravity to share the court with Curry to form a dynamic two-way duo.

In return, the Bulls could have received a package built around Moses Moody and a future first-round pick. Moody and Caruso are both set to hit free agency in 2025, but Caruso poses a high flight risk as he would likely prefer to join a contender, while the Bulls would still retain the right to match any offers for Moody as a restricted free agency. Instead, Arturas Karnisovas foolishly asked for Jonathan Kuminga in return, which promptly ended any and all hopes of reasonable negotiations with Golden State.

Just like they did with Drummond, the front office may have just missed the best opportunity to sell high on Caruso. If the Bulls are destined to miss the playoffs either way, I’d rather have several promising prospects and future draft picks to fall back on. Instead, the Bulls are going to need these players to replicate their impressive performances just to even have a chance of fielding a middling team once again next season.

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