The Chicago Bulls’ goal of continuity has taken another blow.
First, it was forward Derrick Jones Jr. opting out of the second year of his two-year $6.5 million contract to enter unrestricted free agency. His decision had a direct impact on the Bulls trading into the second round of the 2023 NBA Draft to select Julian Phillips.
“Breaking news: free agent guard Patrick Beverley is signing with the Philadelphia 76ers,” read a tweet from the profile from Beverley’s ‘Pat Bev Pod with Rone’ Twitter handle on July 1 in a move that earned a nod of respect from typical news breaker, ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski who noted that the podcast was “outstanding.”
Beverley, 34, arrived to play for his hometown team following a trade from the Los Angeles Lakers and being waived by the Orlando Magic. He averaged 6.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.9 assists while shooting 40.0% from the floor and 33.5% from beyond the arc.
His impact, however, showed in many ways including in the Bulls’ 14-9 record to close the season that executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas cited in his exit interview on April 15. It was a big reason why he was hoping to bring back as many parts of the roster as possible and was putting that plan into action.
“The Bulls also are in dialogue with Patrick Beverley on a possible return,” wrote NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson on June 29.
They will now have to replace the kind of leadership teammates credited him for.
Beverley had floated the idea that the Bulls would have been better if he had been on the team for the entire season. However, the writing was generally on the wall that Beverley’s return was going to be unlikely.
Bulls Sign Patrick Beverley’s Replacement
Karnisovas delivered on a couple of promises – to address three-point shooting and the point guard position this offseason – with one move in the opening hours of the moratorium on free agency, signing point guard Jevon Carter away from the rival Milwaukee Bucks on a three-year, $20 million contract.
Carter, 27, averaged 8.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists while knocking down 42.1% of his threes this past season.
He does not have the same outspoken leadership style that Beverley does.
But he is at least as good of a defender, a better shooter, and is seven years Beverley’s junior, a key with the future of Lonzo Ball still nebulous at best following his third surgery on his knee since joining the Bulls in the summer of 2021.
Ayo Dosunmu is the Final Domino
Third-year guard Ayo Dosunmu is the final member of the Bulls’ guard rotation that is in limbo this offseason. The Bulls extended a qualifying offer to the Chicago native on June 28 making him a restricted free agent but it has been quiet since then while the Bulls have signed Carter and brought back Coby White on a three-year, $33 million pact.
Dosunmu could have suitors but restricted free agency can be tricky and his production stagnated this past season. Despite losing his starting spot this past season, Karnisovas remains high on Dosunmu.
“Ayo is going to be a good player in this league,” Karnisovas said. “I think it’s going to be a big offseason for him but I hope he’s here for a long time as well.”