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Bulls Free Agency Rumor: David Nwaba negotiations at a ‘stalemate’, sign and trade possible

it’s hard to stay so flexible

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Chicago Bulls Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a fairly moribund onset of Free Agency for the Chicago Bulls. On the bright side, we have a rumor!

But it’s not necessarily a good one. While Zach LaVine has dominated much of the talk when it comes to the Bulls own free agents, David Nwaba is left wondering if his future is in Chicago.

Nwaba, claimed off of waivers last summer, was one of the few promising things about last season. Still only 25, Nwaba put in solid work as a defensive impact player on the wing, plus showed an ability offensively to play well in transition (this is Hoiball, remember?).

But the Bulls are trying to preserve flexibility forever for 2019 free agency, and Nwaba doesn’t seem to have earned the anointing of John Paxson’s core, so you can see a scenario where the Bulls aren’t offering a high (and long) enough contract to Nwaba’s satisfaction.

The possibility of a sign-and-trade opens up far more destinations than cap room or exceptions, plus a team interested in Nwaba, even with available ways to sign him, wouldn’t have to do the restricted free agency dance for the 3 days while the offer sheet is being ‘considered’ to be matched.

As far as what the Bulls can get in return if they dealt Nwaba, the cap rules for sign-and-trades are wonky as heck, but by still being under the cap the Bulls do have more options. Maybe they have a deal where they take back high salary, but can use Nwaba to get a better asset in return. I don’t think Nwaba alone could get a first-round pick.

This does beg the question of why the Bulls weren’t more actively shopping Nwaba at last season’s trade deadline if they didn’t want to keep him long-term at market rate. Perhaps Nwaba is being outlandish in his demands, though if he’s merely looking for multiple years and the Bulls are balking, it’d take a good personnel decision (acquiring Nwaba in the first place) and following it up with a poor one.