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Chicago Bulls Potential Targets: Point Guards and Shooters?

Chicago Bulls Potential Targets: Point Guards and Shooters?

The Chicago Bulls, heading into a crucial offseason, doesn’t look like they will go with a complete rebuild, as initially thought. But instead, the Bulls will go after floor spacers, general manager Arturas Karnisovas told NBC Sports Chicago K.C.Jones. 

“We’re trying to change our shooting profile. Being last in the league in rate from 3 and 3-point makes, we’re going to try to address that in the offseason.”

NBA Rumors: Bulls Seeking Guard and Shooters In Free Agency

Karnivsovas indicated that Chicago’s lack of shooters hurt the team last year. It allowed teams to shrink the floor defensively. Thus preventing Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan from doing what they do best, which is slashing to the basket.

Chicago averaged 10.4 threes on 30.4 attempts a game, which ranked last in the league. The Bulls were also only average when they did launch it from beyond the arc, connecting on 36.1% of their attempts.

LaVine led the Bulls in 3-point makes (2.7) and attempts (7.1) while shooting at a 37.5% clip, which is slightly above the league average. While LaVine ranked 16th in the NBA in 3-point attempts, it marked less than 40% of his total field goal tries.

Coby White was the Bulls’ second most proficient 3-point shooter, canning 1.7 treys on 4.6 attempts a game. White converted 37.5% of his attempts. Nikola Vukevic, Patrick Beverley, and Patrick Williams were the only other Bulls to attempt more than 3 tries a game. However, Williams was the only above-average shooter of the trio, as he knocked down 41.5% of the attempts.

Regarding positional 3-point shooting, the Bulls’ point guards, small forwards, and power forwards ranked among the bottom five in the league in makes and attempts.

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However, shooters are not the only thing that should top Karnisovas’ shopping list, as the Bulls likely need a point guard. Particularly following Thursday’s night news that Lonzo Ball is unlikely to play this season.

LaVine, Ball, Alex Caruso, Carlick Jones, and Dalen Terry are the only guards on the Bulls roster.

Bulls Salary Situation

Chicago projects to have $19 million of cap space and nine players under contract for the 2022-23 season. However, that number could increase. The Bulls also have the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($12.4 million) and the bi-annual exception ($4.5 million).

Andre Drummond has a $3.26 million player option that needs to be exercised by June 29. Drummond recently said he plans on picking up the option.

“As of now, that’s what my plan is.”

Even if Drummond does remain with Chicago, the Bulls could slash payroll by pulling the trigger on the rumored LaVine or DeRozan trades. While the Bulls are gauging the market for their star 6-5 swingman, there is a very good chance LaVine remains with the team as they value him highly, as they should.

Jones was told by one league source that the Bulls would focus on getting a good young player, multiple first-round picks, and salary filler for LaVine. While another source told him one first-round selection and an established, high-end player, might be sufficiently intriguing.

The most likely way for Chicago to add “spending money” is by filing for a disabled player exception. The exception would be worth half of Ball’s $20.6 million salary and would give the Bulls another tool to sign or trade for a replacement. It would only be granted if Ball is deemed more likely than not to remain sidelined through June 15, 2024.

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Jones ($1.92 million) and Marko Simonovic ($1.83 million) deals are nonguaranteed.

What’s Next

The Bulls have 11 players on their 2023-24 preseason roster, including 2023 second-round draft choice Julian Phillips and Adama Sanogo. Sanogo recently signed a two-way contract with the team.

Chicago is reportedly working out a multi-year contract extension for Vucevic, an upcoming unrestricted free agent. Vucevic may be willing to give the Bulls a hometown discount.

According to Karnisovas, point guard is another of the primary areas of focus this summer. Ayo Dosunmu, Patrick Beverley, and Coby White are free agents. The Bulls are considering bringing back both Dosunmu and White, who are restricted free agents.

Mo Bamba is one name to keep an eye on, per Chicago Sun-Times  Joe Crowley on 670 The Score. Bamba reportedly wants to play for the Bulls.

 

Bamba was having a solid season for Orlando before barely seeing any action after being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. The 25-year-old center excels around the rim on both ends of the floor and on the backboard. Bamba can also stretch the floor. However, if the Bulls bring back Vucevic and Drummond, Bamba may not see much time on the floor.

Who Are Potential Targets

Orlando and Washington have a crowded backcourt. The Magic’s Jalen Suggs and the Wizards’ Monte Morris’ names have been bantered around as possible trade candidates. Morris makes more sense for the Bulls than Suggs. The six-year veteran is an excellent shooter —  being a career 39% 3-point shooter -p and an exceptional distributor who doesn’t turn the ball over.

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If they want to trade for Suggs or Morris, one potential issue for the Bulls is that they don’t possess many mid-tier contracts. Suggs makes $7.2 million, while Washington’s Monte Morris owns a $9.8 million contract.

Potential targets are Max Strus, Jevon Carter, Seth Curry, Torrey Craig, Alec Burks, Dennis Schroeder, Donte DiVincenzo, and Yuta Watanabe.

Strus is one of the NBA’s 2-way contract success stories. The 28-year-old wing had his best NBA season though he didn’t shoot the ball well. A designated shooter, the unrestricted free agent also struggled during the playoffs.

Carter has a player option for the upcoming campaign. It would be a huge surprise if he doesn’t exercise it. The 5th-year veteran is a 3-point marksman who set career-highs in scoring and 3-point makes (1.8 a game).

Curry will be 33 years old but is one of the best 3-point shooters of all time and an excellent ball-handler.

Craig is an unrestricted free agent. The 32-year-old has been at least an average shooter in three of the last four seasons, which includes canning a career-best 39.4% of his threes this past year.

Burks has a $10  million-plus team option. Burks will have plenty of suitors if he becomes an unrestricted free agent due to his 3-point marksmanship and electrifying scoring ability. He is also a capable playmaker.

 

  • June 25, 2023