The Bulls were rumored to be interested in a reunion with Justin Holiday, and that reunion is happening, per The Vertical’s Shams Charania and other reports. The deal is for two years and only $9 million, which is a reasonable number for a solid 28-year-old wing.
Holiday enjoyed a breakout of sorts with the Bulls in 2015-16 after coming over in the Kirk Hinrich trade. Holiday was then included in the Derrick Rose trade, and he promptly enjoyed the best overall season of his career in New York. He played in all 82 games and was a consistent spark off the bench, averaging 7.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 20 minutes a game. He shot 43.3 percent from the field and 35.5 percent from 3.
Strangely, the Knicks didn’t make a competitive offer to retain Holiday, per ESPN’s Ian Begley.
The Athletic’s Sean Highkin reports the Bulls plan on signing Holiday with part of their mid-level exception. This means they plan on operating as an over-the-cap team, which means they’d keep their $15 million-plus trade exception created from the Jimmy Butler trade. They could use this exception for a year to take on a bad contract with an asset attached. (Brandon Knight? Cole Aldrich? Somebody else?)
Holiday could easily be the starting small forward when next year starts. Paul Zipser and Denzel Valentine are other options for the gig. Or maybe Holiday starts over Dwyane Wade? (LOL) Either way, this is a smart deal with little downside. He’s a body who can soak up minutes and could be a trade chip down the road.
The Bulls have done well to start this rebuilding project by simply re-signing Cristiano Felicio and agreeing to this small deal. They don’t need to do anything drastic, and they should be seeking out these trades to get extra assets.