The Chicago Bulls are off to a poor start this season with a 4-6 record. They rank 20th in net rating with the 18th-best offensive rating and 20th-best defensive rating. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index (BPI) doesn’t seem to think they will get better as it projects the Bulls to finish with a 35-47 record, which would be the 24th-best in the league. It also projects the Bulls to be among the five teams in the Eastern Conference to miss the Play-In Tournament.
There’s still plenty of time for the Bulls to right the ship. But what is a realistic goal to keep this group together? They could break above the lower Play-In group of teams like the Magic, Nets, and Raptors, but that would only represent a repeat of last season’s result. If they remain headed in that direction again, they could be one of the most monitored teams ahead of the February 8 trade deadline.
The Bulls appear headed toward a Wizards-type trajectory: a roster built around a fringe All-Star that barely raised its floor. They are teams that didn’t necessarily strive to be a title contender, but at least consistently in the playoffs and failed to accomplish that. The Wizards finally hit the reset button after two years in a row out of the postseason, and now the Bulls risk the same fate.
Like the Wizards, the Bulls are out a future first-round pick, complicating a potential rebuild. However, it is Top 10 protected in 2025 to the Spurs, followed by Top 8 protection in 2026 and 2027. After completing their obligation from the Nikola Vucevic trade by conveying their 2023 first-round pick to the Magic, it makes more sense to bottom out now. They could have a high lottery pick in 2024 while keeping their first-round pick for multiple years.
If the Wizards’ respective returns for Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis mean anything for the Bulls, it could be to not expect hauls for any of their top players. They ranked last in HoopsHype’s team asset rankings in September, partly due to their lack of a draft pick surplus and premium prospects, but mostly because of the lack of value their starters hold.
Below is a list of the most important Bulls players, their progress so far, and their potential trade candidacy.