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It may be in Bulls’ interest to blow up their roster

Updated: December 27, 2013 6:29AM



SALT LAKE CITY — With Derrick Rose done for the season after surgery on his right knee Monday morning, it’s time for the Bulls’ front office to look in the mirror and ask itself some tough questions.

Is grinding out the rest of the season with a roster that talent-wise can’t go toe-to-toe with the Heat and Pacers worth passing up a chance to get better for the future?

By moving some pieces, the Bulls can go from a possible fourth or fifth seed in the Eastern Conference to a lottery team.

That would mean trading off free agents-to-be Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, as well as trying to move Carlos Boozer or amnesty him after the season.

If there ever was a season to blow it up, it’s this one with a draft class on the horizon that could rival the 2003 class (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony).

“They have to do their job,’’ coach Tom Thibodeau said Monday when asked about his front office making that decision. “I don’t think about that. I think about what we do have. And so their job is to always look at what the possibilities are. That’s the nature of this league.’’

The problem is that Thibodeau doesn’t know any other way to coach except to win games at any cost. It’s not in his DNA to take his foot off the gas, even if it improves the Bulls down the road.

Landing Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker to play alongside a healthy Rose wouldn’t be too bad. Look at what the Spurs did when they lost David Robinson to injury in the 1996-97 season: They picked Tim Duncan No. 1 in the ’97 draft, and the championships followed.

“Look, my job is to coach the team,’’ Thibodeau said. “Whoever I have on the roster, that’s who I’m coaching. Their job, and whether Derrick is here or not, that’s what they have to do. They have to always look at the players that are available. They have to study — which they do — and you go from there. As I said before, I love the team we have. I love the guys we have in that locker room. I think we have great character, we have great fight, we have great determination and we love the challenge.’’

General manager Gar Forman was unavailable for comment, but he spoke on the team’s website about the possibility of a breakup: “It’s still too early in the process, and we’re not going to make any rash decisions. We feel there’s a bright future ahead, and we believe we are positioned well.’’

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com



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