The Chicago Bulls learned the hard way that winning the trade deadline on paper or in the media does not guarantee a spot in the playoffs, or even the play-in tournament.
At the time of the blockbuster trade that landed All-Star Nikola Vucevic, Chicago was 19-24 and in contention for a playoff spot. Then the Bulls lost Zach LaVine because of the league's health and safety protocols, saw their defense rank 29th over the final two months and finished the season on a 12-17 skid to miss the play-in. Then they watched helplessly as they failed to move up in the lottery, guaranteeing they'd send this year's No. 8 overall pick to Orlando.
Now the question heading into the offseason is: How can Chicago, stripped of draft picks from the Vucevic trade and likely over the salary cap, improve its roster?