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Schanowski: Should Bulls get involved in Howard trade talks?

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Schanowski: Should Bulls get involved in Howard trade talks?

At first glance, the decision by the Orlando Magic to fire Head Coach Stan Van Gundy and part ways with General Manager Otis Smith would seem like an obvious attempt to pacify disgruntled superstar Dwight Howard, who had differences with both men during this past season. Howard reluctantly agreed to relinquish his opt-out clause for the 2012-13 season before the trade deadline in March, and with Van Gundy and Smith out of the picture, you would think the Magic have a decent shot at getting him to sign a long-term extension.

Well, guess again. Sources close to Howard told Sheridan Hoops that the three-time Defensive Player of the Year is more determined than ever to bolt the Magic Kingdom, and he has the two New York teams, the two Los Angeles teams and Dallas on his list of preferred destinations.

My question is, should the Bulls make a bid to bring Howard to Chicago?

Granted, with Derrick Rose facing a long rehab after surgery to repair a torn left ACL and Luol Deng possibly missing the first two months of next season if he decides to have wrist surgery, the Bulls arent exactly in a position of strength to make a deal.

But the way I look at it, the Rose injury might make this the best time for Bulls management to roll the dice. If you could get Orlando to agree to a package of Joakim Noah, Deng, Ronnie Brewer and the future Charlotte first-round draft pick for Howard and Hedo Turkoglu (who will have to be included in any deal involving Howard because of his big money contract), you would have that second superstar to reduce the burden on Rose to carry the Bulls offense.

We know Howard hasnt been all that excited about the possibility of coming to cold-weather Chicago, but if he had a full season to experience all the city has to offer and the tremendous loyalty of Bulls fans, maybe he would warm up to the idea of making the Windy City his long-term NBA home. And, if Howard decides to bolt after one season, the Bulls could use the salary cap room they would create to bid on a star-studded free agent class in 2014.

I know its a lot to ask for Bulls fans to be patient after believing the team was on the cusp of a championship during the last two seasons. But the reality is, even with the supremely talented Rose, this is an offensively challenged team that might not have been able to beat Miami or the Western Conference champion in a seven game series. Taking the gamble on making a trade for Howard would be the Bulls best opportunity to acquire another game-changing player. And if Howard leaves, the Bulls would have sufficient cap room in 2014 to possibly make another run at LeBron James, who can opt out of his contract with the Heat that summer.

If the Bulls stand pat with the current roster, all theyll be able to do this season is add a stop-gap point guard fill in at the mini-mid level contract of about 2.5 million dollars. Were talking about veterans on the down side of their careers like: Kirk Hinrich, Andre Miller, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry, or maybe young players who havent yet reached their potential like Raymond Felton, Jerryd Bayliss and Jonny Flynn.

The Bulls will probably use their late first-round draft pick (No. 29 overall) on either a college shooter like Vanderbilts John Jenkins or Ohio States William Buford or possibly another big man like Syracuse 7 footer Fab Melo.

Maybe next season isnt about contending for a title, given the injury rehab periods for Rose and possibly Deng. If the next legitimate title shot isnt until the 2013-14 season, the front office should seriously consider making a bold roster move that will set the team up for years of contention after Dengs contract expires in two years and the Bulls can bring European sensation Nikola Mirotic to the NBA.

Howard might not love Chicago now, but the thought of Howard & Rose teaming up on future title teams is just too intriguing to dismiss out of hand.

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

The door has officially been closed on the 2017-18 season for the Chicago Bulls, and the word that most comes to mind is “unfulfilling.”

Or maybe even “indistinguishable.”

Draft night was supposed to be a culmination of a painful seven-month stretch that only had occasional yet costly moments of light.

Death lineup? Meet Death March. And Death April, while we’re at it.

The Bulls brass sold everyone on a full rebuild after trading Jimmy Butler one year ago, with an unspoken promise that this draft would bear franchise-changing fruit—hence the general feeling of angst or even indifference with the solid selection of Wendell Carter Jr. and their not-so-secret affection of Chandler Hutchison.

It was why fans believe the Bulls got cold feet about trading to move up, and why they believe the Bulls weren’t being pragmatic in staying away from Michael Porter Jr.

Porter, some believe, has star written all over him given his prep ranking this time last year and the Bulls were in position to speed up this process without having to go into a painful Process.

They were desperate for a star, believing the tankathon had produced so much suffering it had to be something on the back end.

There was the fight (or the punch).

The aftermath.

The miserable 3-20 start.

The 14-7 streak that produced the audacity of hope.

The reality that 14-7 was damaging enough to the lottery chances that a 3-11 finish couldn’t rectify.

And finally, the coin flip that cost them five spots in the lottery one month ago.

So that empty feeling has less to do with Carter and Hutchison, who’ve done nothing to earn the “blah” reaction from the fan base and some media. It has everything to do with the unanswered questions over the last 82 games and lack of clarity over the three hauls from draft night last year.

It’s not that Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn underperformed individually last season, but the lack of cohesiveness due to injuries and circumstances has led to the varying thoughts.

LaVine is approaching restricted free agency and by all accounts is taking his continuing rehab in Washington very seriously.  Markkanen has added plenty of muscle since the offseason began, appearing as if he can play Michael B. Jordan’s in-ring foil in the next installation of “Creed” as Ivan Drago’s long lost son.

And despite the report about Dunn not working as hard on the floor this offseason, that would be more of a concern if this were late August, not June.

The last time they were seen together on the floor, they looked no closer to a pecking order than the day they arrived.

What we know is that they’re productive NBA players, capable of putting an individual tattoo on a game at a moment’s notice, skillful enough to take your breath away.

And for whatever reason, the expectations changed once the three displayed they could be dynamic on their own—a star needed to be anointed and groomed to go with the star they believed was coming their way after the season.

Management is fully behind Markkanen, but Paxson’s strong words about LaVine at the season-ending news conference illustrated how much it feels LaVine has to prove next season.

With his restricted free agency status looming, the Bulls’ initial offer will show how much they value him until and if he gets a better deal on the market.

And the fact the Bulls weren’t afraid to draft Trae Young while having a healthy debate about Collin Sexton on draft night has to show they have at least some skepticism about the future at point guard.

But stars—developing stars, acquired stars, drafted stars—have to do it on their own. No amount of promotion or prodding from management will validate their faith, if that’s the route the Bulls choose to go.

This has to be a meritocracy or it won’t work and, honestly, it’s time for a reality check.

All the worry about the Bulls getting back to title contention sooner rather than later seems like folks getting ahead of themselves.

The front office has taken its share of shots from media and fans, so some questioning is earned but they’re right about one thing. Rebuilds aren’t completed in a day or 12 months.

Expecting some magic potion to arrive in the form of a top draft pick isn’t going to cure what ills this roster, and it doesn’t seem likely all the cap space will result in a free agent choosing the Bulls over the usual suspects.

However, methodical building can look like complacency if not done with a sense of urgency.

And with urgency in mind, this past season was unsatisfying to say the least—heading into the next phase with two more young pieces to develop while the first three are still in the evaluation stage.

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Loyola's March Madness hero Donte Ingram will play with Bulls' Summer League team

Donte Ingram's 2018 keeps getting better and better.

The March Madness hero, who buried a game-winning 3-pointer in the first round of Loyola's win over Miami, will play on the Bulls' Summer League team.

Ingram, a Simeon Academy graduate, had himself an incredible senior season with the Ramblers, who advanced all the way to the Final Four as a No. 11 seed.

In five NCAA Tournament games Ingram averaged 7.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists for the Ramblers. He also had 18 points in the MVC Conference Championship Game to secure the Ramblers' March Madness berth.

He'll join first-round draft picks Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison on the Las Vegas Summer League team, which will begin play early next month.