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Should the Bulls Bring Back Daniel Theis?

Should the Chicago Bulls bring back Daniel Theis? After examining the numbers and state of the roster, the answer seems very clear.

Chicago Bulls
Photo: Jason Behnken/AP

While the the biggest acquisition of the past season for the Chicago Bulls was Nikola Vucevic, it could be argued Daniel Theis was the second best. Theis was the spark off the bench that picked up the Bulls’ play during the second half of the year. He averaged 10 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Theis was third in offensive rebounds per game, fourth in defensive rebounds per game, and fourth in blocks per game.

These are all metrics that the Bulls struggled with as a team that Theis boosted once he arrived. He’s also a better defender than Wendell Carter Jr., who was traded to the Magic in the Vucevic deal, and Daniel Gafford, who was traded to the Wizards.

Vucevic and Young will most likely be the starters at the 5 and the 4, respectively, if Lauri Markkanen moves on from the Bulls. Theis could be the back up at both positions. With the recent announcement that Marko Simonovic is coming over, Theis could also be an experienced mentor that the rookie needs.

Last year and prior when Theis was on the Celtics, he played both the 4 and the 5. Not only did he get some starting opportunities, he also earned minutes in the playoffs. With a Bulls team that has little playoff experience, an experienced player like Theis could help relax some of the nerves with an inexperienced team.

The most important thing to remember about the possibility of signing Theis is that the Bulls have his Bird rights. This allows the Bulls to re-sign Theis without having his signing affect the cap.

A reasonable offer for Theis would be for an AAV around $12 million. The Bulls could structure his deal to begin at $10 million in year one, and increase each year to $14 million in the last year of a three-year deal. A deal like this would align Theis and Vucevic on the same timeline. In addition, Theis’ increasing salary would offset Vucevic’s decreasing salary.

The Bulls’ free agency period will be insane, but one thing makes a lot of sense: bring back Daniel Theis.

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