The Bulls still haven’t fired Jim Boylen for some reason, and we’re still waiting to see if they will take part in any type of offseason activities with the other members of the NBA’s “Delete Eight.” There are even rumblings that some of these teams want their own “bubble” with televised games. You have to wonder if the Bulls are waiting to see what happens with this because they want Boylen to coach it.
But while we’ve been waiting, we have gotten some new information on a few players, most notably Kris Dunn and Otto Porter Jr. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the current state of the roster, which K.C. Johnson speculates won’t look much different next season. Everything should be on the table when it comes to a potential roster shake-up, but the unique circumstances affecting this upcoming offseason might make that difficult.
Otto Porter Jr.
Status: $28,489,239 player option for 2020-21
With the NBA calendar pushed back, Porter now doesn’t have to make a decision on his player option until Oct. 17. Of course, there’s really no decision for him to make. There’s no reason to expect the 27-year-old to turn down this kind of bag after a disastrous season. Porter is also eligible for an extension on Oct. 18, but the Bulls shouldn’t be committing any long-term money to him at this point and should be looking at possible trades. Porter opting in will effectively nuke the Bulls’ cap space unless they make other cap-clearing moves.
Status: 2 years, $39 million remaining on contract
LaVine struggled to start the season, but he wound up having a career year. While he obviously still has his flaws and is miscast as a true No. 1 guy, his contract is reasonable for what he brings to the table. He too is eligible for an extension on Oct. 18. Like Markkanen, the Bulls shouldn’t give LaVine a new long-term deal, and they should listen to potential trade offers. However, I have a hard time seeing them find a trade that makes sense this offseason.
Status: 2 years, $27,735,000 remaining on contract ($6 million guaranteed in 2021-22)
The Bulls struck quick by agreeing to a deal with Thaddeus Young at the beginning of free agency, but things didn’t work out as hoped. Young wasn’t thrilled with his role, and he struggled at the outset of the season before picking things up a bit when he got more playing time. Young is a solid veteran, but he should be on the trading block after not getting dealt at the 2020 deadline.
Status: 2 years, $20 million remaining on contract ($5 million guaranteed in 2021-22)
Satoransky was the Bulls’ other key acquisition in free agency last summer, and he too wound up being a disappointment. While he’s a smart player and solid playmaker, he proved to not be dynamic enough to really boost the Bulls’ offense. His shooting also fell off a cliff as the season wore on, which only enhanced the team’s problems. He should also be shopped.
Status: $7,529,020 expiring contract
Felicio is a lost cause in a crowded frontcourt. The Bulls aren’t getting any value in a trade, but maybe they’ll try to get off his expiring deal somehow. He’s also eligible for an extension on Oct. 18, but he won’t be back once his contract is up, if he makes it through next season on the roster.
Status: $7,091,457 qualifying offer to become a restricted free agent
It looked like Dunn’s qualifying offer was going to come in at $4.6 million because he was set to fall short of hitting the starter criteria for the $7.1 million qualifying offer, but he wound up hitting the mark thanks to the NBA’s new prorated criteria. With so much uncertainty surrounding free agency this year, it wouldn’t surprise me if Dunn winds up signing the QO, which would give him the ability to veto any trade next season. The Bulls don’t have to extend the qualifying offer, but I wouldn’t have a problem with him being back next season thanks to his elite defense. I would hesitate to commit any long-term money to him because of his offensive flaws and injury problems, but the Bulls may be willing to match a reasonable offer sheet.
Status: 1 year, $6,731,508 remaining on rookie contract
Markkanen is eligible to sign an extension on Oct. 18, but it’s hard to see the two sides coming to an agreement after he was the biggest disappointment on the team. He was awful to start the season before recovering a bit, only to miss extended time with a hip injury. The Finnish big man just hasn’t developed much over his first three seasons, and he has dealt with numerous injury problems. The 23-year-old should bet on himself and try to build his value up next season, hopefully with a new coach, and the Bulls should be willing for that scenario to play out. If there’s a Jimmy Butler scenario and Markkanen blossoms into a star in Year 4, so be it. Furthermore, the Bulls should be open to a trade, but again, his value isn’t all that high right now.
Status: 3 years, $18,824,395 left on rookie contract (team options in 2021-22 and 2022-23)
Outside of a few offensive explosions, White had a rough go of it prior to the All-Star break. The rookie then caught fire after the All-Star break, making him one of the few reasons to watch the Bulls during another lost season. There are still questions about his ceiling and fit with Zach LaVine, but White’s development should be fun to watch if his scoring binges can stay consistent.
Wendell Carter Jr.
Status: 2 years, $12,368,867 remaining on rookie contract (team option in 2021-22)
Carter has shown signs of being an able defensive anchor in the middle, but injury problems and a lagging offensive game have limited him. It would be nice to see Carter’s skills used more on the offensive end, especially when it comes to his passing and jump shooting. The Carter-Markkanen frontcourt theoretically should be pretty dynamic, but various issues have kept them from blossoming. Year 3 will be a big one for WCJ.
Status: $4,698,198 qualifying offer to become a restricted free agent
Valentine has had his moments with the Bulls, but it’s probably best for a fresh start here. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bulls don’t even extend a qualifying offer and he simply hits unrestricted free agency.
Status: 2 years, $6 million remaining on contract (team option in 2021-22)
Arcidiacono is a perfectly capable third point guard. He plays hard, limits his mistake and shoots the 3 well. The problem in recent years is he has been forced into a bigger role than he should have.
Status: 2 years, $6,462,899 remaining on contract
Hutchison has shown flashes of skill on both ends of the court, but injuries have limited him to 72 games in two seasons. The Bulls’ current lack of legitimate wing depth means Hutch should have another big opportunity next season. We’ll see if he can take advantage.
Status: 1 year, $2,250,000 expiring contract
Kornet seemed like a sneaky-good signing last summer, but he was awful to start the 2019-20 season. He shot awful and was a terrible fit for the Bulls’ blitzing defensive scheme. He had a few decent games after undergoing sinus obstruction surgery and is fine as a stretch 5 in limited minutes when the Bulls want to throw a different look at an opponent.
Status: $2,025,705 qualifying offer to become a restricted free agent
Harrison plays his ass off and is a legitimate pest on the defensive end. That kind of guy is worth having on the end of the bench, but the Bulls might not want to keep two similar players in Dunn and Shaq on the roster, especially with a try-hard like Arch already there. Of course, the Bulls could wind up just keeping Shaq as a cheaper alternative to Dunn.
Status: 3 years, $5,231,283 remaining on rookie contract (2021-22 and 2022-23 non-guaranteed)
Gafford wasn’t in the rotation to start the season, but he showed promise as a shot blocker and rim runner when he actually saw the floor. The youngster should be a solid energy big man off the bench in Year 2, though he has to work on avoiding fouls and improving his offensive repertoire.
Adam Mokoka and Max Strus
Status: The two-way contracts
Mokoka enjoyed his one breakout game against the Pelicans and Strus tore his ACL. The Bulls may look to keep Mokoka around, but Strus’ future is more murky.