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Chicago Bulls rumors: Dunleavy reportedly close to return on 3-year deal

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

UPDATEIt's Woj-ficcial. 3 years (3rd year partially-guaranteed) $14.4m.

Happy NBA Free Agency morning! From Marc Stein:

This is big, if true! Stein also says that the 3rd year will be partially guaranteed.

The $5m average salary is a competitive advantage the Bulls had in free agency to retain Dunleavy, as it's more than what most other contending teams could offer with a cap exception. (as pointed out in the comments, it also means the Bulls don't need to use their own exception to bring Dunleavy back, and thus have it to fill other needs)

I was skeptical yesterday that the Bulls were serious about retaining Dunleavy, figuring that they'd instead rather give those minutes to McDermott and Snell. But this signing, for this large of a deal, would certainly prove their seriousness. It's a signal that the Bulls are indeed fashioning themselves as a veteran team making another run, and willing to pay for that privilege.

Dunleavy will turn 35 next year, but was still an extremely solid player for the Bulls last year, to the point where his long absence midseason seemingly hurt the team immeasurably. Maybe Snell or McDermott indeed make a leap to where they take the starting role on the wing, and then Dunleavy becomes a still-affordable backup. But it's encouraging that the younger cheaper guys will be forced to earn the role, and the Bulls depth in that area is maintained.