The Bulls have been one of the most active teams during free agency. They will likely have one of the largest turnarounds from any team this year. Bringing in Lonzo Ball, Demar Derozan, Alex Caruso and a sneaky signing of Tony Bradley, will all greatly improve the rooster next season. A season ago when the combination of Gar Foreman and John Paxson were replaced by Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley, every fan had a feeling that serious change would be coming. A large deadline acquisition in Nikola Vucevic and a huge free agency haul is more than fans could have dreamed of.
Each Individual Move
The signing of Lonzo Ball was the very first move announced during the free agency period. This ended up being a sign-and-trade deal so that the Bulls could shed some cap to sign Ball. The Bulls sent over Tomas Satoransky, Garrett Temple, and a future second-round pick for Ball. They then signed Ball to a four-year, $85 million contract. Some are looking at this as a slight overpay, but it was likely needed for a player that is still 23 years old and will come in and start right away.
Ball will fill the need for a starting point guard who can pass and defend. That is what Coby White lacked. White will move to the bench and become one of the better sixth men in the league.
The Caruso signing was a surprise. Ball had been rumored to the Bulls for months now, but that was not the case for Caruso. Caruso signed a four-year, $37 million contract. Once again, people might think this is a slight overpay because they see him as just a meme, but he is much more than that. In his very limited minutes last season, he still managed to garner all defensive second-team votes. He is a great defender who shot 40% from three. He will be a great backcourt partner with Coby White off of the bench. That is one of the better guard bench duos in the league.
This one was definitely a big shocker, Coming into free agency there were no rumors about DeRozan being linked to the Bulls. Those rumors only started around 12 hours before this happened. Those rumors started heating up very quickly. To get DeRozan the Bulls executed another sign-and-trade. The Bulls sent Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu, a future first round pick and two second round picks. The Bulls then signed DeRozan to a three-year, $85 million contract. A lot of people are seeing this one for sure to be a steep overpay for someone that is 31 years old.
While it might be an overpay, this move still brings a ton of excitement to Bulls fans. This indicates that the Bulls will be an actual competitive team this season. DeRozan will be bringing his newfound playmaking skills to a team that will greatly need it. DeRozan and a couple of the other moves is inspiring because it means that Chicago might start to become a real free agent destination.
This is a move that is flying the radar. Bradley is still a very young player at 23 years old. He has never been given too many minutes, but he has shown flashes in the past that he can be a good backup center in the league. In a game a against the Bulls last season, Bradley started in place of an injured Joel Embiid, and Bradley played very well. He has the talent and length, standing at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan, to be a very impactful piece of the Bulls’ rotation.
What This Means for the Bulls
Before this offseason, the Bulls were looking like a team that would be competing to get into the play-in. Now, they look like they are a mid-level playoff team. They look to be anywhere from the 4-7 seeds, barring injury. A likely starting lineup of Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, Demar DeRozan, Patrick Williams and Nikola Vucevic has a ton of talent. It will likely take them some games to gather chemistry, but this lineup seems like it could work. They have a nice balance of defense and scoring. LaVine will still be the go-to guy with Vucevic and DeRozan being the second and third options.
Bulls fans are just excited for this season. There is finally hope that a competent team will be put onto the floor every night. While maybe not title contenders just yet, that should not matter.
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