Forget the underwhelming trade offers of Nazr Mohammed and Michael Olowokandi.
Maybe Bulls general manager John Paxson should pull up Pat Riley on his speed dial and ask him to take Eddy Curry for Shaquille O'Nealstraight up.
Of course, that notion is purely fantasy, but that's better than reality right now.
A tumultuous week ended with a resounding thud Saturday night at the United Center as the Bulls blew a 24-point first-half lead and fell 97-96 to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The defeat left the Bulls winless at 0-4 on the young season. The New Orleans Hornets are the NBA's only other winless team.
The comeback marked the Clippers' biggest since the franchise moved from Buffalo to San Diego before the 1978-79 season.
The blown opportunity failed to create some much-needed positive momentum, especially with a seven-game trip looming on which the Bulls have gone 0-32 over the last five seasons.
At least the game put Curry trade rumors on the back burner for a night, although more performances like his team-high 20-point, 11-rebound effort, and Paxson will be getting stronger offers that could suit him.
Tyson Chandler matched Curry's double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Corey Maggette's 23 points led six players in double figures for the Clippers, who opened the fourth quarter with an 11-1 run.
Guard Marko Jaric scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half as Bulls guards consistently failed to rotate back to shooters.
Still, improbably, the Bulls almost had a chance to tie after being down 95-88 with 16.6 seconds remaining.
A foul on Kirk Hinrich allowed former Bull Rick Brunson to split a pair of free throws with 1.8 seconds left to ice the victory. Hinrich's three-pointer at the buzzer proved meaningless.
"We have to get a win," Hinrich said.
Curry trotted out during introductions to a mixture of loud cheers and very mild boos from the sellout crowd of 21,764.
"That shocked me," said Curry, the center of unwanted attention after a public trade demand from one of his agents. "I appreciate the love."
Given its desire for a mentally tougher team, management was eager to see how Curry would respond after a horrid season opener against Phoenix and the fuss created by trade rumors.
"You can't control what people do to you," coach Scott Skiles said. "But you can control your response. We have to play through that."
The Bulls did early, building the 24-point lead as Curry established himself inside early with aggressive post moves and improved defense rebounding.
Chandler even hit two outside jumpers, and Ben Gordon handled his demotion from the starting lineup by attacking the rim and scoring eight first-half points.
But the Clippers, playing their second road game in as many nights, responded with a 21-4 run to pull within 54-48 at halftime. Maggette, the former prep star at Fenwick, scored nine in the run.
Curry expected to be booed. That didn't happen, but the end result proved the same.
"I was nervous again," Curry said. "I missed too many close shots. I have to keep working on it."
The Bulls next play at the United Center on Dec. 1 against the Lakers, followed two nights later by O'Neal and Miami.
Wonder howand whereCurry will be playing by then.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times