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NBA Trade Deadline: An especially wishful Bulls wish list

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NBA Trade Deadline: An especially wishful Bulls wish list

But first, some background. 

(And if you don’t care for that, feel free to skip to the bottom. I won’t judge.)

The NBA trade deadline is fast-approaching, and the Bulls are at a crossroads.

On the one hand, a season that began with All-Star hopes and self-imposed playoff expectations has underwhelmed to this point. Well over halfway into the campaign, the Bulls sit at 19-33, are in the midst of an injury epidemic and face a rigorous slate to end the season.

And yet, they’re also just 3.5 games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference and four out of the seventh, as of this writing, thanks in large part to midseason swoons by the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic. Though Bulls coach Jim Boylen’s verbiage has shifted towards development over the course of the season, he and his team have not yet stopped touting the playoffs as a goal.

Dual objectives — ‘developing’ and winning — butting heads have thus defined the Bulls’ season, and the impending deadline is sure to muddy the waters further. 

There is a conceivable timeline where the Bulls would actually look to ‘buy’ at some point this week, with the hypothetical thinking being that they’re only one or two piece away from vaulting into the thick of the playoff race when/if Markkanen, Carter and Porter return. 

But that scenario would involve parting with draft capital, and the Bulls have little to flaunt outside of their own future firsts and seconds. Further, shipping valuable draft assets out to go all-in on an eighth-seed run (and a date with the transcendent Milwaukee Bucks) with a group that is currently 1-20 against winning teams feels reckless. They’re more than one move away.

The more realistic trade options center around distressed assets such as Thad Young or Denzel Valentine. Young expressed displeasure with his playing time allotment earlier in the season, but has slotted into the starting lineup nicely since Markkanen went down, averaging 14.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 31.6 minutes on 58.1 percent shooting in his last six games. He could undoubtedly help a contender, and some have even expressed interest.

Valentine has, rather confoundingly, phased in and out of Boylen’s rotation all year. With his rookie contract up after the season, it would probably behoove the Bulls to find some sort of value in exchange for him before he inevitably seeks out a new home this offseason; though his inconsistent minutes have likely dinged his value league-wide.

But the Bulls’ recent spate of injuries have the potential to render all of these ruminations moot. Even if a playoff berth doesn’t materialize, playing somewhat competitive basketball should be a goal for this team at this stage of the rebuild. Parting with Young, Valentine, both Young and Valentine, or any other active rotation piece could jeopardize the team’s ability to even kind of hang around with most squads. Plus, selling on guys like Porter or Kris Dunn (who sprained his MCL last week) is nearly impossible as long as they’re sidelined.

So, in a deadline that has been noticeably devoid of buzz (until the last 48 hours, at least), the Bulls don’t seem likely to make a splash. And perhaps they shouldn’t.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream.  

With all of the above as context, here are six ‘dream’ trade deadline targets I wish the Bulls could pursue at the deadline. The theme of this exercise is: Upside, playmaking and scoring ability — all qualities the Bulls should be in search of.

NBA Trade Deadline: An especially wishful Bulls’ wish list

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports and tune-in to watch the NBA Trade Deadline Show on Thursday, February 6 at 1:30 p.m. CT. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Bulls Talk Podcast: First weekend of the NBA Bubble review

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Bulls Talk Podcast: First weekend of the NBA Bubble review

The NBA has restarted its season officially as the 22 remaining teams play eight more regular season games and then the playoffs. Jason Goff is joined by K.C. Johnson and Rob Schaefer to discuss their thoughts about the opening round of regular season games. They also discuss: Have the Bucks been exposed? What's up with Zion Williamson not playing? And they debate who should win Coach of the Year.

(1:40) - The "Delete Eight" teams are missing valuable time not being in the Bubble

(10:00) - The impact playing in the Bubble has on the players and their play

(20:00) - Zion Williamson's minutes restrictions

(33:15) - How will the NBA operate next season

(37:25) - Concerns for the Bucks and Lakers

(43:15) - Who should have won coach of the year

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Talk Podcast

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Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

Detroit Pistons invite rapper J. Cole to try out for NBA team

Detroit Pistons invite rapper J. Cole to try out for NBA team

We could be on the verge of an incredible NBA x hip-hop crossover event. The Detroit Pistons have reached out on Twitter inviting rapper J.Cole to try out for the team.

You might be thinking to yourself, “How did we get here?” Fair question. Let’s summarize.

Click to download the MyTeams App for the latest Bulls news and analysis.

J. Cole fans have been speculating that the rapper has been angling for a shot at the NBA since he released a commercial for a new Puma shoe called “The Dreamer,” where he goes through an intense basketball workout.

“You can’t be serious,” says the voiceover track over the commercial. “I know you ain’t about to try to do what I think you’re trying to do. ‘Cause that would be crazy.

“I mean, what’s the odds? I know you’ve got more sense than that young blood.”

The rumors picked up steam when Master P told TMZ on Saturday that Cole was, in fact, serious.

Master P signed two NBA contracts, one with the Hornets and another with the Raptors in 1998 and 1999. He played in the preseason for each team, but never in the regular season. So, Master P told TMZ that Cole called him up to ask his advice on how to make it on an NBA roster. To his credit, Master P says he told Cole he has a long road ahead of him, and that he’ll have to prove his dedication and consistency.

If you go back to 2019, videos surfaced on the web purportedly showing Cole holding his own in pickup games with NBA players.

Which brings us back to today. Apparently the Pistons have seen enough to warrant a closer look at Cole. It remains to be seen whether or not his dream will become a reality.

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