The Bulls may be looking to upgrade on the wing, and it appears they may be willing to part with one of their core veterans to get a deal done.
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski said on his podcast, The Vertical, on Wednesday that the Bulls are looking to upgrade to a "talented wing player" and that the Bulls "are open to" moving one of Joakim Noah or Taj Gibson to get a deal done.
With Mike Dunleavy still without a timetable to return after back surgery and subsequent setbacks, and with neither Tony Snell nor Doug McDermott showing much consistency opposite Jimmy Butler on the wing it's an avenue the Bulls could look to upgrade with their uptempo offense.
Though the Bulls rank seventh in the NBA in pace, they're 27th in efficiency and 21st in 3-pointers made per game.
[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]
The Bulls tout one of the deeper frontcourts in basketball, and dealing one of their bigs could free up playing time for rookie Bobby Portis, who has averaged 13.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in 18.4 minutes his last two games.
Joakim Noah's expiring contract may be enticing for a team looking to free up salary cap space, while Taj Gibson will be considered a bargain at $8.95 million next year when the salary cap increases.
Still, with Pau Gasol expected to opt out of his deal after this season, and Nikola Mirotic only signed through 2017, there could be major changes coming to the Bulls' frontcourt (and team as a whole) in the next year or two.
The Bulls may get a head start on it prior to February's trade deadline.
On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, the Bulls Outsiders team of Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine join Kevin Anderson to talk about the series premier of ‘Bulls Outsiders’ Thursday night. Hear about how the show came together and what they are hoping to bring to the Bulls fanbase this season. They’ll also share their bold predictions for the season including two potential end-of-season award winners from this roster.
0:15- Introduction to the Bulls Outsiders
3:15- The process of casting the show
9:45- John Sabine's Improv background and comedy's connection to basketball
11:20- What the Outsiders hope to accomplish with the show
13:00- What's great about Bulls fans
14:20- Who is their favorite Bull of all time, outside of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen
26:20- Bold on the court predcitions for the season
Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:
We all know what Zach LaVine is capable of doing on the offensive side of things. But what about his defense?
It's no secret that LaVine has had his fair share of struggles on defense, but Kris Dunn thinks highly of his 23-year-old teammate and what his potential is at the other end.
"On the defensive end I just told him, 'You're as fast as me. You're more athletic than me. There's no way you shouldn't be a good defender in this league. You could be one of those guys who could be dynamic in the passing lanes because you're so athletic and fast.'" Dunn said of LaVine. "And personally, I like to score. If you get in a passing lane, that's a dunk for yourself and because you've got so much bounce that's when you get the crowd on their feet — maybe do a windmill, a 360, something.
"But I think he's been going a good job on the defensive end. It's not going to be easy. We all got to learn and I think we're all trying."
Improving his defense would obviously be a big step forward for LaVine (and the Bulls), and he knows it.
“I think I had a lot better focus on the defensive end,” LaVine said when assessing his preseason. “I had some mistakes too, but I wanted to go out there and just really hone in on being more focused down there. I felt like I did OK with that. Still some areas I want to get better at, definitely off-the-ball I think I did a lot better than I had before.’’
LaVine and the Bulls travel to Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Thursday night in their season opener. You can watch Bulls Pre- and Postgame Live on NBC Sports Chicago before and after the game for highlights and analysis.