The first salvos of NBA free agency have been fired. Otto Porter Jr has picked up his 28+ million dollar option for 2020-21, making him a Bull this season. The Round Table have also made some interesting decisions in regards to the three restricted free agents the Bulls control; They extended a qualifying offer to Denzel Valetine, and declined to offer Kris Dunn and Shaq Harrison contracts, making the two defensive minded guards unrestricted free agents.
Moving on from Dunn and Harrison while offering a contract to Valentine signals a welcome change in the front office’s approach to team building. Arturas and Eversley seem to value offense and versatility in a player over defense and specialization, basketball smarts over physical toughness. While I’m disappointed that Dunn’s time with the Bulls has likely come to an end, I’m not broken up about it. Dunn has been an often injured and underperforming player for the Bulls. Yes, his defense is elite, but his offense has regressed so much that he has become a distinct liability on the court. With Dunn on the floor, opponents never thought twice about double teaming Zach LaVine, or sagging defenders into the paint forcing the Bulls to live on the perimeter. Essentially the Bulls were playing 4 on 5 basketball on offense, and that isn’t going to fly with the Round Table.
The break from Dunn and Harrison could also hint at what type of player the Bulls will target in this draft. The too obvious conclusion is that the Bulls will select a playmaking point guard with whatever pick they have (trading up or down is always an option), and that’s what I was thinking last night before I went to bed. But if you take a deeper think on – not only the moves themselves, but – what Arturas has said he values in a player (versatility, ball movement, ability to play both sides of the ball), it’s more likely that they select a well rounded wing or big. KC Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago has been trumpeting these facts for a while, and he’s right. Arturas will take the best player available, but it will be based on those standards. This means you might see the Bulls selecting someone like Patrick Williams, Devin Vassell, or Saddiq Bey, or even trading back to pick up multiple players with that type of size and two-way versatility.
As we begin to see what this new Front Office values in its roster, we can start extrapolating what it will look like in the near future. With that in mind, (Hot Take Alert!!!!) I would not be surprised if Zach LaVine is no longer a Chicago Bull by the time this season ends.
Shifting gears, last week, the Round Table continued to move the franchise toward competency by hiring FOUR player development coaches. This is in edition to the full compliment of assistant coaches they hired 2 weeks ago to fill out head coach Billy Donovan’s staff. One can’t help but wonder how much better of a player Kris Dunn would have been if he had had the support of FOUR player development coaches during his time with the Bulls.
Some league wide notes:
Trades are already happening around the league with players like Chris Paul, Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic being shipped to new teams. So far, there has been no word on any movement with the Bulls.
Upcoming important dates:
The draft is tomorrow, Wednesday, November 18th, and Friday, November 20th, negotiations for free agency can begin. This Sunday, November 22nd, teams and players can start signing contracts willy nilly. I anticipate general chaos and me writing several more posts this week, more than making up for my recent stretch of miserly output. Let’s face it, by the time this week is done you’ll probably wish I was back on hiatus.
Until I am, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!