Chicago Bulls: Free Agency Edition
What a start to the Chicago Bulls free agency! The new regime of Arturus Karnisovas and Marc Eversley are a breath of fresh air over the previous GarPax. They have definitely been active completely changing the make up of this Bulls team.
Lets first start with the drafting of native Chicagoan Ayo Dosunmu from the University of Illinois. He fell to the 38th pick where the Chicago Bulls were able to draft the local hometown star. He is able to do a little bit of everything in college by scoring over 20 ppg, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. He will primarily be a back up guard for the Bulls but has potential with his long 6’10” wingspan.
The first big signing as soon as free agency began was to lock up the future point guard for the Bulls, a position that was surely lacking. They took an immediate splash and did a sign and trade for Lonzo Ball. He signed a 4 year $85 million contract for Tomas Satoransky Garrett Temple, and a 2nd round pick. This signing was two years in the making as the Bulls have chased Ball for his ability to control the ball and pass. He will finally be playing next to a high scoring guard next to him. His ability to defend either guard position will be much needed, especially with the lack of that ability by Lavine. He is also very young at the age of 23 and has plenty of upside. He jumped his 3 point percentage to 38% this past season and will get more open looks by way of Lavine, Nikola Vucevic, and DeMar DeRozan.
The Bulls then decided to beef up the guard position by signing Lakers fan favorite Alex Caruso for 4 years and $37 million. Although I would’ve preferred a Derrick Rose reunion, after his resigning with the Knicks, I was very pleased with this signing. Caruso also has the ability to disrupt players with his defensive prowess and is one of the best defensive guards in the league. Not only that, he was electric with his timely clutch buckets energizing fans.
Finally the Bulls made their biggest and most bold signing by doing a signing and trading for All-star DeMar DeRozan (4 years for $85 million) from the Spurs for Thad Young, Al-Farouq Aminu, and a future 1st round pick in 2025 (this can’t be earlier due to trading the 2023 pick to Orlando for Vucevic). This is easily the most controversial pick among fans but is, personally, my favorite. Anytime you have a chance to land an all-star talent, you take it and figure out fit later. He has consistently been a number one option in his career and on the Bulls, he will be considered a 2nd or 3rd option behind Lavine and Vucevic. Although his outside shooting isn’t the best, he has an elite ability to get to the rim. Having two playmakers on the wings will create havoc for opposing defenses.
At this time, the projected lineup looks to be Lonzo Ball, Zach Lavine, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, and Nikola Vucevic with Alex Caruso, Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu, Troy Brown Jr., and Lauri Markannen as the primary backups. A need for a defensive minded big man is glaring and is not to be dismissed, but on paper, this team looks ready to be a perennial playoff team with a punchers chance of being a 3rd seed sitting below elite teams like Milwaukee and Brooklyn.
After years of missing the playoffs, the Bulls finally look like a legit playoff team with a clear upgrade in talent without losing any valuable assets. They are still armed with the mid-level exception and plenty of trade assets in Coby White and Lauri Markannen. If the first 24 hours are proof of anything, the Bulls leadership isn’t done yet and still has plenty of tools to round out the roster. If these moves provide any real contention or just wasted capital and draft picks is still to be seen in the future, but one thing is for sure, this team will be very interesting this upcoming season.
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