Off-season Preview: Chicago Bulls

Well, I suppose I need to get this out to beat what ever trade will likely happen soon after this goes out. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s talk about my Chicago Bulls. They snuck into the playoffs finishing on a bit of a hot streak and was arguably a (good lord) Rajon Rondo injury away from pulling out a first round up set over the No. 1 seed Boston Celtics. However, there was no shortage of discord during the regular season. Whether it was ongoing doubts about head coach Fred Hoiberg’s ability to lead and gain his team’s respect or Rondo’s dissatisfaction with the lack of leadership ability of Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade it was quite the arduous ordeal that sullied what the Chicago Bulls hoped to be a year that saw them in the thick of the Eastern Conference discussion once again.

While that didn’t exactly happen and they did see a dip in overall production the product on the court in the midst of so many distractions didn’t look half bad. There are some parts here and hopefully the front office is finally starting to realize that when you hire a head coach with a very distinctive style it may help if you can give him the kind of players that suits it (I wouldn’t bet my life on it though).

 

Needs: Crap or get off the pot in regards to a Jimmy Butler trade and get players that can contribute right away since Wade has picked up his option.

Wants: Sift through the all the guys weighing against the cap hold and see who needs to move in order to create room to any signings needed.

 

Money Situation

Guaranteed                                  2017-18                             Insider info
Dwyane Wade                          $23,800,000                            Opting In
Jimmy Butler                            $18,696,918                         Trade bonus
Robin Lopez                             $13,788,500                     Extension eligible
Cameron Payne                        $2,203,340
Denzel Valentine                      $2,186,400
Bobby Portis                             $1,576,320
Jerian Grant                              $1,713,840
Paul Zipser                                $1,312,611

Non/partial                                 2017-18                          Guarantee date
Rajon Rondo                           $13,397,000          June 30/$3 million guaranteed
Isaiah Canaan                          $1,577,230            June 30/$200,000 guaranteed

FA cap hold                                 2017-18                              FA status
Nikola Mirotic                           $10,986,655                      Restricted Bird
Joffrey Lauvergne                      $3,248,466                       Restricted Bird
Anthony Morrow                       $6,627,200
Michael Carter-Williams           $7,958,815                      Restricted Bird
Cristiano Felicio                         $1,671,382                  Restricted early Bird

First-round cap hold                   2017-18
No. 16 selection                           $2,247,480

Outlook

So as trade talks heat up for Jimmy Butler and Wade opting in stifling any cap flexibility the Bulls had they’ll need to be pretty crafty in the draft. Luckily for as much of a dumpster fire the Chicago Bulls front office is they tend to draft well consistently. Even before all of this crazy trade talk I had the Bulls eyeing Justin Jackson the small forward from North Carolina. He has high two way wing potential which is exactly what the Bulls will be looking for in the case of a Butler trade.

As I mentioned up top Chicago will need to have a long hard talk with themselves about the value of some of their rotation guys, especially now that Wade has opted in. The Bulls are $11 million over the cap currently and will need to make quite a few moves to create space. They have nearly $30 million in cap holds mostly restricted bird. Sure they won;t easily walk away from every one as in that group includes Nikola Mirotic at $11 million and Cristiano Felicio at a cheapo $1.6 million. Then there’s the decision to make in terms of Rajon Rondo. He’s due $13.3 million this season but will have eat $3 million if the let him walk. Question is will they use the space and focus on developing young point guards Cameron “King Panda” Payne and Jerian Grant? There are a lot of moving pieces here and like most playoff teams if everyone stays put they really don’t have much to add but if they want to test the market they’ll have to make very smart choices (traditionally not a strength of Bulls management).

Players to watch: Omri Casspi – SF – Unrestricted, Shabazz Muhammed – SF – Restricted, Yogi Ferrell – PG – Team Option, Ian Clark – PG/SG – Unrestricted, Milos Teodosic – PG – Unrestricted, P.J. Tucker – SF – Unrestricted, Jonathon Simmons – SG – Restricted

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