With six losses over the past seven games, the 2016-2017 season was already slipping away from the Chicago Bulls. On Thursday afternoon, Fred Hoiberg and company received news that might serve as the nail in the team’s collective coffin, as start shooting guard Dwyane Wade will miss the remainder of the campaign as a result of a fractured elbow.
The Bulls are just 32-36 after their latest slide and, while Wade isn’t the best player on a team that features Jimmy Butler, the future Hall of Famer is vitally important to everything Chicago does. The now 35-year-old swingman is averaging 18.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game during his first season with his hometown team and, in his absence, the Bulls don’t have a ready-made replacement.
Given their relative proximity to the No. 8 seed, it would be unwise to fully bury the Bulls as having absolutely no chance to crack the playoff picture. Still, this type of loss definitely does not aid in fulfilling the goals that Hoiberg, Butler and company put forth at the outset of the season and it will be interesting to see what happens with Wade in the offseason given that he has a player option to decide on before next season begins.