Chicago Bulls: It’s time to make a move for Russell Westbrook

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

The NBA has had a crazy free agency period…with so many teams making moves, is it time for the Chicago Bulls to make a big move of their own?

Leave it to the NBA to provide additional fireworks to your 4th of July weekend. The Los Angeles Clippers made the boldest move in their franchise’s history by signing free agent superstar Kawhi Leonard and trading for another superstar in Paul George. The move has caused a ripple effect across the entire league and definitely put the Los Angeles Lakers on notice that they aren’t the only team in LA trying to win a championship.

So what about our Chicago Bulls? I keep reading articles on how the Bulls have had a “productive” offseason and “might” be able to compete for lower tier playoff seed if everything clicks and they remain injury free. Is this what we’ve come to? The city that has six NBA championships to its name and was once the envy of the league? Pathetic, if you ask me.  In order to win, you have to be willing to take risks and that is against this entire organization’s nature.

Vice President of Basketball Operations, John Paxson, and General Manager, Gar Forman, have been lauded in their conservative approach during this current rebuild (they’re third by the way). I’ll agree with that sentiment…if the aim is to be stuck in the equivalent of NBA purgatory for some time to come. We’ve seen the try-hard Bulls movie before and I’m not standing in line to catch the sequel.

They stood pat during the NBA draft and drafted point guard Coby White with the No. 7 overall pick, instead of packaging that pick and Zach LaVine (for example) in exchange for a superstar player or a chance at the No. 2 pick in the draft and Ja Morant. In free agency, they signed veteran forward Thaddeus Young and acquired point guard Tomas Satoransky from the Washington Wizards via sign and trade. I’m not knocking those guys, but those are mediocre moves to a fan base starved for some national attention.

The moves they’ve made (or lack thereof) this offseason are a direct result of their inability to attract star players to this franchise. The front office believes this so much that instead of making a play at a superstar player at last year’s trade deadline, they opted to trade for Otto Porter Jr. and his $26 million salary. Don’t get me wrong…Porter Jr. is a fine player and would be a key contributor on a contender but on this Bulls team? He’s wasting his time and our cap space.

The only hope the Bulls have at this point is that Lauri Markannen and Zach LaVine develop into Superstar players. Although I like LaVine, I think he’s hit his ceiling. An athletic guard who can score the basketball, though the jury is out on whether he’ll ever play high-level defense or make the players around him better. Markannen, on the other hand, seems to have the potential to make a leap, though his development is in the hands of Jim Boylan.

The Bulls need a superstar on the roster, yesterday. It just so happens that there is now a disgruntled point guard from Oklahoma City who may just be available given George’s trade to the LA Clippers. Former league MVP and triple-double king Russell Westbrook is exactly the type of player the Bulls need to turn their fortunes around. Its a superstar driven league, where star players seek to team up with other star players. Teams in today’s NBA don’t rebuild…they re-brand. Markannen and LaVine are fine players…a Westbrook type player they will never be.

Westbrook is 30 years old and still in the prime of his career. He has many great seasons ahead of him, barring injury. He’s the type of talent that would attract other superstar players to Chicago and if my math is right there is one in Milwaukee who’ll be a free agent in 2021.  Chicago is a tough, hard-nosed city with an attitude and would suit Westbrook better than any other city I can think of.  You don’t get many opportunities to acquire a superstar of this caliber. The time to strike is now.

Next. Can John Paxson be trusted?. dark

The way I see it, the Bulls have two courses of action…either stay the current course and compete for second-round playoff appearances in the future or take a risk and go get yourself a Russell Westbrook and compete for championships within the next two seasons. Will John Paxson risk his lifetime appointment in the Bulls front office? Don’t bet on it.