Despite their continued struggles on the court this season, the Chicago Bulls are unlikely to be a big factor leading up to the Feb. 9 trade deadline.
On the latest episode of The Hoop Collective Podcast (starts at 21:15 mark), ESPN's Jamal Collier noted he doesn't expect a "major change" to shake up the Bulls roster right now.
The Bulls are in a tricky position leading up to the trade deadline. They tried to run it back with the group that made the playoffs last season, including signing Zach LaVine to a five-year, $215 million contract in July.
It seemed like a sound process at the time because the Bulls were expecting to get Lonzo Ball back after he missed the final three months last season with a torn meniscus. They were 27-13 before the injury but finished 19-23 after he went down.
Ball had a second procedure on his knee in September that has kept him off the court. Head coach Billy Donovan told reporters this week the 25-year-old is "nowhere near playing" and could miss the entire season.
Nikola Vučević is the only key player on the Bulls' roster who can become a free agent this offseason. Ball, DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine, Alex Caruso and Patrick Williams are under contract for next season.
Caruso would be an attractive trade candidate for contending teams, because he's an efficient scorer and plays defense, but NBA insider Marc Stein noted Chicago is seeking two first-round picks for him.
Another problem for the Bulls is they are at risk of giving up a highly valuable 2023 draft pick to the Orlando Magic stemming from the March 2021 trade for Vučević. The pick conveys to Orlando if it is outside of the top four.
After their 108-103 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, the Bulls have fallen to 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings with a 23-27 record. They are only percentage points behind the Indiana Pacers (24-28) for the final spot in the play-in tournament.