Discover more from BlogABull.com
NBA Free Agency is mostly over, are the Bulls mostly done?
remember, think in terms of AK goals: "competitive, tough out" = 7th-10th seed in East
(can have up to 20 for training camp, then have to cut down to 15 + 3 Two-Way by start of regular season)
Guaranteed Contracts: Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, Nikola Vucevic, Coby White, Patrick Williams, Alex Caruso, Jevon Carter, Andre Drummond, Dalen Terry, Torrey Craig, Julian Phillips
Non-Guaranteed Contracts: Carlik Jones
2-Way Contracts: Adama Sanago, Justin Lewis, Onuralp Bitim
(Bitim was reportedly signed hours after posting this)
Qualifying Offers: Ayo Dosunmu,
Terry Taylor (2-Way)
Cap, Tax, Apron, and Exceptions:
Salary Cap: above it! (just to say Cap Holds have no relevance, sorry Matt Thomas you’re going unmentioned…damnit I just mentioned you!)
Luxury Tax (assessed at end of season): ~8.5M below
First Apron (hard cap): ~$14.6M below
Exceptions remaining: Early Bird (Dosunmu), ntMLE ($6.2M remaining), BAE ($4.5M), DPE ($10.2M)
Coby White’s contract has incentives, but they’re considered “likely“ so they’re included for now, but not actually determined until end of season for luxury tax calculation.
I’m somewhat astounded that Torrey Craig’s contract is for the vet minimum.
I don’t believe Lewis, who was hurt again during Summer League after missing all of last season with an ACL tear, officially has a contract but it’s been reported as such.
I haven’t seen any news that Summer League standout Jevon Freeman-Liberty will get a 2-way contract offer, though he did tweet #blessed and if I was that weirdo running ChiSportUpDerp I’d run with that as confirmation but I’m a different kind of weirdo.
As it stands, this is obviously not a very good team. But even stating that obvious assessment is applying a higher standard than the Bulls front office has for themselves. From their perspective, it’s a job well done outside of some minor moves.
The most major of those minor moves surrounds Ayo Dosunmu. Strangely, he’s the one the Bulls are playing hardball with and demanding comes to them with an offer from another team. This mindset is different than what was employed in signing Coby White immediately as Free Agency began, and of course extending Nikola Vucevic well before it.
(Seeing the above roster+cap status has me even more annoyed at how the team bid against nobody to retain an aging role player. Not only does it constrain their playing style and influences who to bring in ‘around’ Vuc, it literally limits their ability to add. Yes, there was risk that Vuc walked for nothing. But it was a very low risk - even if, say, the Rockets bowled him over, Bulls could’ve at least gotten a TPE in an outgoing sign-and-trade - and even in that worst-case scenario there were not-too-much-worse replacements possible with exceptions -including DPE via trade - that they now wont, or literally cannot, fully use.)
I’m still hoping Ayo and the Bulls can come to a multi-year agreement that starts below his $5.2M one-year Qualifying Offer. Maybe the delay is all revenge for Ayo not signing a 3-year deal as a rookie and instead getting to restricted free agency a year earlier.
I just don’t buy the excuse I’ve heard that the Chicago Bulls are simply too loaded to fit Ayo on the roster.
I admit the following is a stupid, half-assed chart. Uses draft combine measurements without shoes, and my own subjectivity towards players I’ve barely seen on the court. But wanted to get Ayo out there amongst the rest of the fringe.
I understand that the Bulls lack size. So Phillips is going to get a spot for that reason alone, plus the other reasons like having a guaranteed contract and acquisition coast of 2 second-rounders (did they need to? hmmmm). Funnily enough with Sanago, though very firmly a ‘big’ and not in this guard/wing grouping above, is the same height as Phillips.
Just seems foolish to let Ayo go due to any kind of perceived roster crunch. If it’s a lack of playing time, the Bulls of all teams should plan for less than best-case scenarios. Ayo had a disappointing sophomore season and clearly wasn’t ready to be the team’s starting PG, but I’d rather see him in a pinch than, say, Jones.
If it’s due to the tax, that’s shameful, but then dump Dalen Terry for two second-rounders (the Bulls, after the Phillips move, have a glaringly low amount of seconds to trade). Terry had another mostly-dud Summer League, at least certainly not earning the gift of a guaranteed spot in the rotation. Whatever his value is now, it’s sure to be less next summer. 2 second-rounders wouldn’t be terrible value, a bit early for a #18 overall pick but guys picked in the late 20s are getting moved already.
(If you can’t get that now in return, I wouldn’t just trade him to open a roster spot.)
Unlike most things Bulls, I’m not faulting them for waiting and seeing when it comes to Ayo. If he takes the Qualifying Offer, that’s a less than ideal result but at least you have the player (he gains a no-trade clause, mind you.). I think I’m more just trying to mentally guard against the idea that the Ayo decision affects another possible addition. It’s likely they have a target in mind for ‘big forward’, there’s a couple decent free agents with size and shooting available. They likely won’t come for what the Bulls have to offer below the apron, but definitely won’t come for what they have to offer below the tax. I worry they aren’t even going to make an offer that would put them over the tax if Ayo comes back on the QO.
And yes, this is another reminder that AK tricked y’all when it came to that spending increase. Terms like “a contender” mean something totally different to him, versus the fans, even versus the Reinsdorfs. AK thinks this team is good enough already, because they went 12-9 after the All-Star break (last two games didn’t count) and remember they had a couple good wins / competitive losses against good teams? (seriously, I’m asking if ANYONE remembers this happening to the Bulls more than other average teams)
That’s all ridiculous of course, but it’s what he believes. He’s said it enough to where we have to assume that.
So I don’t expect them to do something bigger like pursue Christian Wood, or trade Zach LaVine, and/or get involved in the to-come Damian Lillard or James Harden trades. You could say they’d even be a “competitive, tough out” in these matters, which I’ve been told is all we can ask for as fans.
thanks for reading! Subscribe to get all posts delivered to your email