The Chicago Bulls' hopes for competing as a power in the Eastern Conference were gashed early in the NBA season, but the team is still in playoff contention and is looking to make moves to improve in the future.
Though it might not actually come to fruition if the Bulls decide to play it safe again, coach Tom Thibodeau said there is potential for Rose to return for a playoff run, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times:
I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, just going step-by-step. When he handles the next phase, then they’ll move him on to the next one. Just make sure he’s completely healthy, that’s all we’re thinking about.
With those hopes now hanging in the balance, the Bulls are in an interesting position. They are a playoff team while also looking at the possibility of freeing up space to sign a max player in the offseason like Carmelo Anthony, who reportedly has Chicago high on his list, per Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
While the talks of Anthony and a Rose return hang in the balance, there are still several trades the Bulls could possibly make before the trade deadline officially ends on Feb. 20.
Here are the most recent trade headlines as they become available.
One of the more grizzled veterans on the Bulls roster, Kirk Hinrich has often been an important component for the team's success.
His average of 7.8 points per game this season is down more than four points from his career average despite still playing 29.3 minutes per game. But teams looking for the 33-year-old's presence on the court have been talking to the Bulls and could get a trade done before the deadline.
According to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune, Hinrich is one of the players that looks certain to be on the move in the coming weeks, considering the veteran guard "the most likely to go."
Another possibility that Greenstein mentions is that Mike Dunleavy could also be on the move. Though Thibodeau wouldn't reveal any specific names the team will be looking to move, he did speak about the process:
We’ll get calls because we have good players. They have to take those calls and weigh whether something makes sense. If they think it does, they’ll get my opinion on it. That’s all I can ask for.
Neither Dunleavy nor Hinrich is a splashy player, per say, but they are both players that could play a role off the bench for contending teams down the stretch.
With the Bulls looking to clear up some space and money for the offseason, Hinrich could be donning a new jersey before the trade deadline is up.
Remember all of those talks about the Bulls wanting to make a huge addition to their roster in the offseason? Well, in order to do that they'll have to execute a plethora of trades with any player on the line.
And as Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times points out, Taj Gibson's name is one of the latest to hit the rumor mill:
Now Taj Gibson’s name is picking up steam. What the Bulls do with him could determine how serious they are in clearing salary-cap space for a max contract to land a player such as Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.
According to a source, the Lakers, Wizards and Bobcats have inquired about Gibson, but they were preliminary talks in which the Bulls didn’t like the return.
Moving Gibson would signify the Bulls’ determination to give Derrick Rose a second superstar to play with.
The 28-year-old has been a significant role player for the Bulls this season with 12.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game—both above his respective career averages—and has been a solid presence down low.
Going to a team like the Washington Wizards or Charlotte Bobcats would allow Gibson to still contend in the playoffs. But when names are thrown around to clear up roster space, Gibson could be a big name late in discussions with his scoring ability this year.