The Chicago Bulls are sitting at fourth place in the Eastern Conference, with less than ten games away from ninth seed New York Knicks. This spot is a frustrating ranking considering the run they had last season, where they finished second to LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite the tenuous efforts of Jimmy Butler, the Derrick Rose squad remains lacking regarding consistency and aggression.
While the shift to a more defense-oriented coaching could be the cause of the losses incurred by the Chicago Bulls, rumors reveal that a problematic roster might be to blame as well. Early on in the season, only Butler was spared of potential trade deals. Even Rose, who has been frequently reported to sit out games due to injuries, earned the ire of many fans due to his inability to perform consistently.
Another member of the Chicago Bulls roster who is facing trade rumors is Joakim Noah. The Frenchman received the shock of his NBA career when he was benched by Fred Hoiberg this season. While he accepted the sixth man role graciously, the former All-Star was eventually faced with the reality that his minutes were also limited. Noah now finds himself averaging only a measly 22 minutes in the hardwood court - a number that has not been associated with him since his rookie year.
This turn of events, later on, sparked talks of Noah's pending exit from the Chicago Bulls. According to the Chicago Tribune, the decision of Hoiberg to bench Noah was something that stuck with the NBA star. The source shared that the 30-year-old "still hasn't moved past losing his starting job." While Noah could not be considered "a distraction by any means," the player "isn't the biggest Hoiberg fan these days."
"I mean, I don't know what to say," said Noah of the Chicago Bulls' performance. He added, "I wasn't expecting to play such a limited role. I'm trying to stay focused on what I can do to help. That's it. It's not about complaining. It's about trying to find solutions. I want to be part of solutions and try to help figure it out."
Noah also addressed the trade rumors surrounding his stint with the Chicago Bulls. He shared, "Of course I'm aware of it. How am I going to handle it? Well, I don't really have much of a choice. But that's not what matters. Trying to help win games is all that matters."
Although some fans might deem it better to let go of Noah, Butler is of the opposite opinion. He said of his teammate, "We really need Jo. He's going to get his conditioning and timing back, and he's going to help us a lot."
Pau Gasol is another name added to the trade rumors this season. Earlier this week, it was announced that Gasol will be out for quite some time due to injuries on his shoulder. He is also suffering from a sole Achilles heel. With Rose regularly absent from the lineup, losing yet another core member of the team might not be prudent for the Chicago Bulls. Moreover, the Taj Gibson squad aims not to rely too heavily on Butler to avoid overworking the star.
With this in mind, some fans feel that a younger roster might push the Chicago Bulls out of this slump. That would mean getting rid of stars who keep falling victims to injuries like Gasol and Rose. Unlike Noah though, Gasol seems more optimistic of his stay with the Hoiberg squad. If the Frenchman has Butler as his staunch supporter, the Spaniard has their head coach to sing him praises.
"Pau has been unbelievable," said Hoiberg, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The head coach added, "Again, I talk about Pau's basketball IQ all the time. I truly think he's one of the smartest players in this league, and he's always coming over, he's giving us suggestions on what we can do."