The Bulls, as part of their PATH (people actually have credited them for ‘picking a direction’, haha), have been really bad. They’ve also been extremely inexpensive. After this past trade deadline, where they did pick up some money, they still owned an open roster spot and up to $10m in cap flexibility.
In the time since, in what was purported to be time for player development, the Bulls have done nothing of consequence with the spot. Instead, as a way to get up to the salary floor, they’re signing guys as financial favors to affiliated players and their agents. It’s important to remember, as HoopsRumors summarizes:
Because the Bulls had remained below the NBA’s minimum salary floor, [signings] essentially won’t cost them anything this season — the gap between a team’s total salary and the required minimum must be paid out at the end of the season to the club’s players, so that money was a sunk cost anyway.
I wonder if Robin Lopez or others will be asked their opinion on this money not going to them now, and instead to these dudes:
- Jarrell Eddie, signed to a 10-day contract and played 3 minutes
- Jaylen Johnson, signed for about 3 hours
- CJ Fair, signed for a day
- Sean Kilpatrick, signed for the rest of the year and 2 additional non-guaranteed years
I think the Kilpatrick signing is the end of these shenanigans. He was rumored to be going to the Celtics as recently as this past weekend, but the Bulls gave him a lot more money:
As part of cap maneuvering to reach the salary floor, the Bulls signed Kilpatrick to part of their mid-level exception, including a guaranteed $2.1 million for the remainder of the season, league sources said.
This isn’t really a developmental play, as Kilpatrick is only 9 months younger than Justin Holiday.
I’ll try to dig through whether his high school coach used to work at a Tim Floyd summer camp, but it may just be that his agent is Mark Bartelstein. Bartelstein is a local guy and Reinsdorf friend, who - to be fair - represents a lot of players...and also a lot of ex-Bulls. Especially Floyd-tree Bulls: Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, going back to Marcus Fizer, and back before then Randy Brown.
Then there’s the players before Kilpatrick who need to be looked at too:
Jaylen Johnson shares an agent with Blakeney. CJ Fair shares an agent w/ Arcidiacano.— Stephen Noh (@StephNoh) March 26, 2018
The agent influence for these guys could be more coincidental, and more just a way for the Bulls to ‘reward’ their G-League guys. Not only do they earn the contract, they get a year of service time which helps future earnings.
The tankin’ Sixers famously churned the bottom of their roster, but did so at much greater frequency and was actually trying to find talent. The Bulls have heretofore not done nearly as much activity, and only now look to be doing it for financial reasons...with a dash of equity-building.