For a third-consecutive year, Chicago decided not to make any tmoves before the NBA trade deadline. Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas attended the press shortly after the end of the transfer market and said that his intentions were to “remain competitive,” despite the team sitting 9th place in the East with a 24-27 record.
“We would take a step back, which we don’t want,” he assured during the press conference. “We want to say competitive. We have an obligation to this city to stay competitive and compete for the playoffs.”
At this point the Illinois franchise are competing for a spot in the Play-In Tournament, as they trail the Pacers by four and a half games for the conference’s 6th seed. Problem is, that last year they were in the same predicament and ended up missing out of the playoffs.
“It’s a result-driven business, and I get it,” Karnisovas explained. “I’ll take responsibility for failures. But at this point it’s very early to say what’s success, what’s not success. We have 30 games to go. We’ll see what this team can do.”
According to ESPN’s stats, Chicago are the only franchise who haven’t made a single trade the week of the deadline in the last three campaigns, while the Heat and Cavaliers are the only others who’ve shared a similar strategy.
Guard Zach Lavine had been one of the most-mentioned names in the transfer market this year, as he expressed his frustration with the team’s losing streak back in November which suggested he was looking for an opportunity away from Chicago.
Unfortunately for him, he suffered a season-ending injury in January, but even before was limited to 25 games due to other health issues. The VP revealed that he shares a great relationship with the player and that they have no intention in letting him go. “We are better with Zach on the team,” Karnisovas guaranteed.
Karnisovas further explained why they decided to hold on to their core and believe in the current roster
Despite not having the best season so far, the Chicago front office decided to remain faithful to their current roster. Executive Karnisovas explained why they kept their core intact despite having many offers for players such as DeMar DeRozan and Alex Caruso.
“I love DeMar,” the Bulls VP expressed. “He’s huge for this team, for the city, for the organization. He’s been great for our young guys, has been our closer. I think it’s wonderful for this team. I think when the time comes, we have a chance to keep him.”
DeRozan will turn 35 this summer as he enters unrestricted free agency. pic.twitter.com/XB4K5SleBW
— Die-Hard Chicago Bulls Fans (@DieHardCBfans) February 9, 2024
The Illinois franchise also proved they were never really serious despite reports suggesting that they were hoping to move veteran Nikola Vucevic and other club stars. Despite some players having expiring contracts, Karnisovas expects to re-sign veterans like DeRozan, who will turn 35 in August.
“What we did in 2021, the summer when we turned our roster around, I think we showed we can be aggressive,” the executive said. “I’m always going to look at how to improve the team. For now, what makes us more competitive and for the future. We didn’t have those options available.