With the Bulls going into camp with only 13 guaranteed contracts (as did most NBA teams, though none quite as profitable), and with a few minor injuries already popping up, the unsigned FAs on the roster may be more important than originally planned.
And 'important' could merely mean 'get through these mandatory preseason games', though with Aaron Gray out for 6 weeks, and Lindsey Hunter really only signed to be a high-paid assistant, someone could actually make the team.
SBNation brother site Ridiculous Upside recently went over the Bulls camp-invitees, so here is some more background on each:
Derrick Byars - Byars got a full-length profile earlier this offseason, so I'll just touch on a few highlights: he was a very smart and skilled college player, but since then has mostly spent time in Europe and the D-League in addition to getting a few preseason NBA looks. He doesn't rebound or get to the free-throw line consistently, and he's not the quickest guy, but he can definitely score and he's a decent passer for a swingman, and he generally makes smart decisions. Byars averaged just under 17 points per 36 minutes in Bakersfield last year, and he shot just over 38 percent on three-pointers. He also does a pretty good job of staying out of foul trouble. I think Chicago would do well to sign Byars, in part because Luol Deng's health is still somewhat tenuous, and because he would give them another bench scoring option on nights when Jannero Pargo's shot isn't falling. I'm not confident that will happen, and Byars isn't really the type of guy you bring in when you're trying to emphasize defense (though what team isn't at this time of year), but I think it would be a solid fit.
Chris Richard - I tend to get him confused with Chris Hunter, but Chris Richard injured his back last year and was released by Tulsa before the all-star break. He was solid if unspectacular when he played, though, averaging about 14 points and nine and a half rebounds per 36 minutes. Those numbers are an improvement on what he did in the NBA after being drafted by Minnesota in 2007, where he averaged six points and just under nine rebounds. His eFG and TS percentages have both improved as well, so while he's not a world-beater, he'd be a solid bench option at power forward for an NBA team. Provided his body can handle it, of course.
Both Byars and Richard played significant time in the preseason opener, and while Byars looked a bit better, I wouldn't be surprised if Richard is the one (and only one) the Bulls keep due to his size. Even after the rise of Taj (sigh), it's likely the Bulls feel the need for frontcourt emergency depth with Gray sidelined, James fat, and Miller always prone to miss games here and there.
I also wouldn't mind seeing Byars given a shot to out-play Pargo (not to try to read too much into the preseason game, I just truly think Pargo is replacement-level) for a spot at the fringe of the rotation, but with the Bulls nearly $1m from the luxury tax line, they'll likely sign only one of the two, if none. And while spots 12-15 are not that significant, with the Bulls insistent on not paying the tax and having a lot of dead (if expiring) money already on the books, I wonder if they're regretting their summer signings (or at least the terms) of Gray, Hunter, and Pargo.