In sports, massive contracts wow the viewing landscape. Huge figures over a lot of years are mind-blowing for the average person. However, some athletes can find generational wealth via a monster payday for their quality play.
In basketball, the max contract is the ultimate pinnacle for a player to set his family and self up for life. That said, there are players who are willing to take less than a max deal in order to win. Sometimes, those players are viewed as unicorns.
Per reports from Chicago Sun-Times Bulls writer Joe Cowley, if the Bulls add “key role players around [Zach LaVine]” he would consider taking less than a max contract. This is huge news for the Bulls, since they seemingly began that process already by acquiring the likes of Nikola Vucevic, Daniel Theis, and Troy Brown Jr.
With that being said, what kind of reinforcements could the Bulls bring in this summer to appease LaVine’s request, setting this team up to possibly be as deep and complete as those Bulls teams circa 2011? Let’s examine some possibilities.
Free Agency Options
For staters, the Bulls only have three players under contract beyond the upcoming 2021-22 season. Vucevic, Coby White, and Patrick Williams are all still under contract entering the 2022-23 season. This will allow the Bulls to add this summer, knowing they have a lot of money freeing up in 2022.
LaVine certainly needs to be signed, but aside from him, and possibly players such as Troy Brown Jr., Daniel Theis, and Thaddeus Young, the Bulls can completely revamp the roster.
That said, the Bulls really need a true point guard, another defensive stud next to Vucevic, and some better depth. There are plenty of options for this Bulls front office, so let’s examine the possibilities.
True Point Guard
It’s no secret the Bulls need a point guard. The Bulls were heavily linked to Lonzo Ball ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline and expect to be players for his services this summer. Ball would be an excellent addition for the Bulls, as he fits the facilitator role much better than current point guard Coby White. Ball would give LaVine and Vucevic the distributor at the point that this team has lacked since Derrick Rose left.
There are many notable point guards on the market this summer. Chris Paul can become a free agent if he opts out of his contract, but after a Suns resurgence, who sit second in the West, Paul will likely stay with superstar Devin Booker. Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry will also be free agents, but likely don’t fit in with the current Bulls roster.
The final option is Dennis Schröder, who the Bulls have been linked to in various rumors. Schröder would likely be a second option for the Bulls, with their minds and hearts set on bringing Lonzo Ball to Chicago.
Another trick the Bulls could think about is holding off on big spending this season, and target Bradley Beal in 2022. However, that’s a story for another day.
Defensive Big Man
On Tap Sports Net writer Ryan Dreyer wrote about the Vucevic trade, and why it hasn’t measured up to expectations. It has less to do with Vucevic and more to do with other factors. However, he noted that the lack of a defensive stud to play down low with Vucevic and how that’s hurting the Bulls in the paint.
Two names he mentioned were Andre Drummond and Nerlens Noel. Before you react as a reader, go check the article out for yourself. He supports the notion that a defensive powerhouse would balance the front court, and take pressure off of Vucevic. While those two players may not be who the front office wants to bring in, there are other names on the list of defensive studs in the NBA.
Perhaps trade is the best method to address this need, but Drummond and Noel are both free agents this summer and could be added to the mix.
The Bulls want to revamp their depth on the roster. It’s no secret. The trade deadline is a perfect example of such behavior, as the Bulls departed with Daniel Gafford, Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr., Chandler Hutchison, and other pieces to bring in the likes of Javonte Green, Troy Brown Jr., Daniel Theis, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Nikola Vucevic.
How do the Bulls add depth? Well, Garett Temple was a solid addition this season for the Bulls, playing a meaningful role as a depth player. The Bulls will want to target players similar to Temple to improve their bench. There are a plethora of free agents that can come in and contribute, but it’ll be on the front office to figure out who makes the most sense to add to a team that, in all honesty, is ready to take another step forward.
If the reports are 100% truth, Zach LaVine has made it known he’ll sign for less if the Bulls continue to build around him. This front office seems poised to accomplish that task given the moves they’ve already made since taking over in 2020. If they continue to build around LaVine, this Bulls team could be a contender for a long time with the right structure around their pair of All-Stars.