Good morning, frents!
Here’s hoping you didn’t bet the Bulls +5.5 last night, only to see the Pelicans cover when Cristiano Felicio scored for the other team with three seconds left.
Anyway, tell a frent about Midway Minute. Maybe it’ll make you feel better.
Pelicans 125, Bulls 119
Zion scores 21 as New Orleans dominates, late flurry by the immortal Adam Mokoka — 12 points in the last 90 seconds! — makes final score respectable after the Bulls trailed by 27.
No. 9 Maryland at No. 20 Illinois (7 pm, FS1)
Wild Friday night in Champaign. First place in the B1G on the line!
Bulls at 76ers (5 pm, NBC Sports Chicago)
Hawks at Jets (6 pm, NBC Sports Chicago+)
Injured Bulls stand pat at trading deadline
“We don’t know what we have yet. We need to see.” — John Paxson
John Paxson’s name was trending on Twitter mid-Thursday afternoon and you didn’t have to be a pessimistic Bulls fan to know it wasn’t for pulling off a heist of a trade.
Instead, Paxson found his name on the angry fingertips of many for not doing a damn thing. The Bulls sat out Thursday’s deadline, leaving an underachieving roster intact to get steamrolled by the Pelicans and fall to 19-34.
The Bulls, of course, have battled injuries all season long, a fact that Paxson has repeatedly pointed out and then used as a shield at his news conference.
But if Pax thought symbolically placing his Rolodex on the injured list next to Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter and Wendell Carter was going to buy him any benefit of the doubt, he had another thing coming.
Paxson’s “We don’t know what we have yet” was quickly chewed up and spit out onto a pile including infamous Chicago sports quotes like Dave Wannstedt’s “All the pieces are in place” and Lovie Smith’s “Rex is our quarterback.”
Now was the time to either get serious about chasing that elusive playoff participation award and dealing for productive bench pieces, or moving on players for draft concessions in order to retool this flailing rebuild. The Bulls chose neither.
Maybe the deals just weren’t out there. Teams who needed bench depth like the Sixers and Clippers found it elsewhere without needing to inquire about Denzel Valentine or Thaddeus Young. Trading Zach LaVine or one of the other “core” pieces — sorry, I can barely type that with a straight face — would’ve been one of the bigger deals on a deadline day that was pretty sluggish in terms of star power.
Also, maybe Paxson doesn’t feel the need to look busy just for appearance’s sake. And, hell, would you if you enjoyed the type of security he’s had for the last 17 years? Writing off this season as an aberration of injuries is certainly going to play better upstairs come review time than either path Mark laid out above.
But that’s little solace to any of us who want to see the team return to being relevant. Paxson might feign ignorance, but Bulls fans know exactly what they have right now — and it’s nothing we want or need.
Chicago sports Twitter took a momentary reprieve from piling on Paxson to lose its mind over a rumor the White Sox were trading for Nolan Arenado. The source? Some account called “MLB Intel.” Needless to say, the excitement didn’t last long with more established reporters (and Steve Stone!) coming along to strike it down.
Brent Seabrook had surgery on his right hip on Thursday, the last of three surgeries he’s had since leaving the Blackhawks’ lineup in December. The team says Seabrook is expected back in 5-6 months.
• The NHL released a statement saying the refs made the correct call in waving off what could have been the Hawks’ gamewinning goal in Wednesday’s OT loss to Boston.
• The Hawks didn’t practice on Thursday so there was no update on the shoulder injury that Adam Boqvist suffered in the game against Boston.
Kris Bryant declined to talk about losing his service time grievance to the Cubs when asked about it by media in his hometown of Las Vegas. He said he hadn’t had a chance to talk about it with Chicago media yet and will do so when he reports to spring training.
• Next NFL season can’t come soon enough: Jay Cutler is talking to CBS and ESPN about a broadcasting gig. (Tribune)
• One former member of the Rockies org who IS coming to Chicago? New Marquee dugout reporter Taylor McGregor. (Tribune)
• The Dead and Company are playing two nights at Wrigley in July, which could make for some easy headlines depending where the Cubs are by then. (Cubs)
• Young’s Tyler Beard hopped right over a rival before going viral. (Sports Center)
Enjoy your weekend everyone!