Sunday Bulls Update: More Draft Thoughts and Some Free Agency Angst

Hello again. I told you you’d get tired of me posting by the time this week was over. This is the last one (for the week), I promise. If you read my post-NBA Draft post then you probably know that, like a lot of Bulls fans, I was trying to sort through my feelings regarding the surprising 1st round pick they made. Arturas Karnisovas taking Patrick Williams 4th overall was definitely not what I expected, and I think I talked/wrote my way into being okay with it. And I am okay with it.

We know that Karnisovas and Eversley seem to operate as much from a place of Passion as they do Erudition. It appears to me that more often than not the latter tends to inform the former, which is good. After doing their research and exploring all their possibilities, The Round Table allow themselves to get excited about their conclusions. They pursue their targets with rare intensity and confidence born from putting in the work, which leads to surprising results: Billy Donovan the new head coach, and Patrick Williams taken 4th overall. Arturas Karnisovas may have the façade of an Eastern Bloc apartment building, but he has the soul of a romantic.

There are a lot of things that we are beginning to learn about Patrick Williams now that he is bound for Chicago. His long standing acquaintance with Coby White, that he played point guard in high school and AAU until a growth spurt made him more suited to the front court than back, his tree trunk sized quads; two days after the draft, it’s all common knowledge for us fans. But what we still don’t know about him is if his sizable potential will ever be fully realized in the NBA. That’s why they play the games. Until he gets his first true taste of professional basketball here’s a video that you can’t help but get excited about…

Free agency is underway, and the Bulls have made some tweaks to the roster. Earlier this week, they declined to issue qualifying offers to Shaq Harrison and Kris Dunn, severing ties with the two defensive minded guards. Kris Dunn has since signed with the Atlanta Hawks, a deal I believe Atlanta made simply to ensure Trae Young wouldn’t be guarded by Dunn in a real game this season.

The Bulls filled the Dunn sized hole in the roster with former Brooklyn Net, Garrett Temple, a solid veteran 2 guard. Expect Temple to fill in for Zach LaVine or Coby White whenever they need a rest. Temple is an opportunistic defender, capable of picking the pocket of the ball handler, getting his hands into the passing lanes causing steals and turnovers, and he is also skillful enough to swat the occasional chase down block. On offense, he’s a decent enough ball handler and scorer, certainly not on the level of LaVine or what we hope White will be, but he plays his role well and is a solid signing.

For those of you wondering about the fate of Denzel Valentine, whom the Bulls made a qualifying offer to, he has signed that offer sheet. Denzel will be a Bull for at least one more year at a price tag of just under $5 million, very similar to what Garrett Temple will make this year.

Due to roster and salary cap constraints, Temple and Valentine are most likely the only players the Bulls will sign in free agency, unless a trade opens up more roster slots, or the Round Table buys Cristiano Felicio out of his contract. Incredibly, Felicio is once again a valuable asset to the Bulls because his contract is mercifully set to expire at the end of this season. This means it will be easier to bundle him into any potential trades that might come the Bulls way, because teams won’t be on the hook for his expensive bench warming services. Here’s hoping.

Well that’s all I have for you folks today. Thanks for taking this wild ride of an entire NBA off-season compressed into a single week. I’m going to get some rest and wait for the next surprise to emerge from the sleeve of Karnisovas. Until that happens, thanks for reading and GO BULLS!