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Why the Bulls Should Avoid Deandre Ayton

Should the Bulls consider a max contract for Deandre Ayton when there is a player in the draft who costs less and has similar value?

Deandre Ayton Bulls
Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It appears Deandre Ayton will most likely not be receiving a max deal with the Phoenix Suns, which raises the question: Should the Chicago Bulls go after Ayton in free agency?

Short answer: No.

There are a lot of pieces the Bulls need to work with this summer, Nikola Vucevic being one of them. His inconsistency behind the arc and lack of defensive presence is a major red flag. Adding a player like Ayton would not help spread the floor for the Bulls. He is great around the post, but outside of that he’s a basic old school big.

Sure, he would help vastly on the inside and has shown he can hold his own against the league’s best bigs, which the Bulls struggled with this past season. However, is he worth the price?

Why pay more for a player that wants a max contract when you can draft or even sign a guy for less?

Who’s the Real Fit?

The better fit would be Illinois standout center Kofi Cockburn, who has a similar build to Ayton. He’s a 7-foot, 285-pound big man with good feet for his size, is a great inside defender, and has a powerful presence on the floor.

Get a guy that the team can develop into a player they want him to be. Not to mention already having previous chemistry with a current player and NBA All-Rookie Second Teamer, Ayo Dosunmu.

Sure, Cockburn has flaws and is a player past his time, but wouldn’t that also mean the same for Ayton?

In his junior year, Cockburn averaged 20.9 PPG, 10.6 RPG, and 1.0 BPG. For context, Ayton averaged 20.1 PPG, 11.6 RPG, and 1.9 BPG in his one season at Arizona. Keep in mind, Ayton was a number one overall pick. Cockburn is projected to either be a late second-round pick or to fall out of the draft entirely.

If there is value in grabbing Ayton in free agency, there is value in getting Cockburn for less. Going with the cheaper option can open up more doors for other players to be signed. If the Bulls do not re-sign Zach LaVine, they will have more to spend on a player like Bradley Beal, for example.

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2 months ago

Cockburn instead of Ayotn. I agree Ayton isn’t the answer but Cockburn won’t even be an effective NBA player.

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