With less than half of the season remaining, the Chicago Bulls sit at a disappointing 26-29.
While that record keeps them in the playoff picture, it’s clear they’re not a championship contender, meaning it may be time to focus on the future and building a legitimate team around All-Star forward Jimmy Butler.
According to this report from Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders, that’s just what the Bulls are trying to do as the front office looks to exchange center Robin Lopez and forward Doug McDermott for first-round draft picks:
McDermott was a highly-touted prospect when he went 11th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, but his inconsistent playing time has made it clear that the Bulls don’t feel he has panned out.
Lopez came to Chicago from the New York Knicks in the Derrick Rose trade. He is a decent center on a team-friendly contract, but might not be worth much to the team in the long-term.
If the Bulls really flip their starting center or one of their few shooters for a draft pick and no solid players in return, they are making a clear statement that the playoffs this year are not a priority. It may not make Butler, Bulls veteran Dwyane Wade, or the fans very happy — but it is likely the smart move.