Northern Star




Northern Star

Northern Illinois University’s student news organization since 1899


Ensure student journalism survives. Donate today.

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

COLUMN: The Chicago Bulls need a fresh start

AP Photo/Erin Hooley
Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vučević questions a call during a Bulls home game against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday. Vučević was traded to Chicago in March 2021 and has yet to represent the Bulls at the NBA All-Star Game. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

With the NBA’s Feb. 8 trade deadline fast approaching and the Chicago Bulls sitting in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, the time has once again come for the Bulls to start over after another failed rebuild. 

We are now four seasons into the Arturas Karnišovas, executive vice president of basketball operations, and Billy Donovan, head coach, era in Chicago and not much has improved from the previous regime. 

The Bulls “big three” of guard Zach LaVine, forward DeMar DeRozan and center Nikola Vučević have been together for three seasons now, but have amassed just one playoff win in their time in Chicago.

This Bulls’ core seemed to be destined for greatness as they sat atop the Eastern Conference standings at the 2022 All-Star break. But after a season-ending injury from guard Lonzo Ball in Jan. 2022, the Bulls were never the same, falling all the way to sixth place in the East and making a quick first-round exit from the NBA Playoffs.

In 2022-23, the Bulls were once again without Ball and once again average, as they finished in ninth place in the Eastern Conference and missed the NBA Playoffs.  

After minimal roster changes over the past two off-seasons and nearly two years removed from contention, it’s time for the front office to accept it and blow this team up.


The first thing the Bulls need to do is fire both Karnišovas and general manager Marc Eversley who were hired in April of 2020.

Letting these two continue to run the Bulls would be problematic for two reasons. One, the two have stayed with a core that has been uncompetitive for nearly two years and two, the duo has been unwilling to admit their mistakes. 

Karnišovas and Eversley have been extremely stubborn and unwilling to make changes to an underperforming roster. Making just one trade since the start of the 2021-22 season

The biggest trade of the Karnišovas era came March 2021, when the Bulls traded third-year center Wendell Carter Jr., forward Otto Porter Jr. and two first-round draft picks to the Orlando Magic in exchange for two time All-Star center Nikola Vučević and forward Al-Farouq Aminu.

Since the trade, Vucevic has not made an All-Star team with Chicago, has declined on the defensive side of the ball and shot a putrid 33% from three-point range. Meanwhile, 24 year-old Carter Jr, averaged a career high in points in 2022-23 with Orlando, and Orlando’s 2021 draft pick – via the Bulls – Franz Wagner is averaging over 20 points per game in 2023-24.

Instead of admitting their mistake and letting Vučević walk in free agency after the 2022-23 season, the front office doubled down on a poor trade and signed a 33 year-old Vucevic to a three-year contract worth $60 million. 

Karnišovas and Eversley proved they are okay with trotting out an average team year in and year out. In order to be a title-contending team, these two must go. 


While Vučević may be unmovable given his age and his bad contract, if the opportunity presents itself, the Bulls need to take whatever they can get in a potential trade. 

In addition to Vučević, fan favorites DeRozan and LaVine must go as well. 

Chicago Bulls forward DeMar DeRozan drives past Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant during the first half of an NBA game in Portland, Oregon on Sunday. DeRozan, 34, is averaging 22.2 points per game, 4 rebounds per game, and 5.4 assists per game during the 2023-2024 regular season. (AP Photo/Troy Wayrynen)

While both are great players, neither can be the top option on a contending team at this point in their careers. 

LaVine is the longest tenured Bull, but has not done enough to prove a team can successfully build around him. Through his first nine seasons, LaVine has made the playoffs just once. He is not a great playmaker, has a poor shot selection and has always been a poor defender. 

DeRozan, who had a career year in his first season in Chicago in 2021-22 is simply past his prime. 

The 34 year-old has always been a poor three-point shooter, bad defender and lost a lot of his athleticism. Given that this is the last year of his contract, it’s time to move on. 

Trading these older players would allow the Bulls to acquire younger talent and more assets. It would also allow room for younger players like 23-year-old guard Coby White and 22-year-old forward Patrick Williams to grow.

More to Discover