Hey, ho! We have a juicy pre-free agency rumor involving the Chicago Bulls.
In a column for the Athletic, NBA Insider Shams Charania reports the Bulls have interest in Julius Randle.
The Bulls are expected to express early interest in free-agent forward Julius Randle, league sources said. Randle is expected to receive interest from several teams, including the Knicks and Nets, according to sources. Coming off his best NBA season, Randle opted out of his $9 million deal for the 2019-20 season. He averaged 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and shot 34.4 percent from 3-point range on 195 attempts last season.
With Anthony Davis doing whatever he was doing last season and only playing in a career-low 56 games, Randle was the New Orleans Pelicans de facto leading scorer averaging 21.4 points per contest. Of course, he gave a lot of that production back on the defensive side of the ball. Furthermore, all that scoring didn’t translate into wins as the Pelicans limped to a 33-win season before lottery luck gave them the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft last week.
However, at 24 years old he has improved every season in the NBA by player efficiency rating and has added the 3-point shooting element to his game after coming into the league as a non-shooter.
Furthermore, the Bulls have a saturated frontcourt so sacrifices would need to be made to bring in Randle and find playing time for him. Do you start him over Lauri Markkanen or Wendell Carter Jr.? Certainly not the former, meaning the Bulls will have to grapple with the question of whether Randle at 6-foot-9-inches tall and a very limited ability to protect the rim would work as a starting NBA center.
Is there a price that would make bringing him in as a backup worth it? Certainly anything over $15 million per year would be too hefty a price tag for that role, right? Plus, Randle did average over 20 points per game last season to go along with 8.7 rebounds per contest, is he really going to settle for a backup role on a rebuilding team coming off that type of season?
The marriage of Julius Randle and the Chicago Bulls doesn’t make a ton of sense. But, the Bulls certainly have done stranger things so stay tuned on this one.