Now that they’ve climbed into the contending tier of teams, the Chicago Bulls are actively being mentioned among suitors on the NBA’s looming buyout market.
Most players who hit the free agency market at this point in the season latch onto teams at the top of the conference, hoping to help provide a late-season spark.
One name to watch, Detroit Pistons guard Cory Joseph, is now being mentioned as a candidate for the Windy City.
In his latest for Bleacher Report, NBA Playoff Eligibility Waiver Deadline: Predictions for Top Buyout Candidates, Zach Buckley listed the Bulls as a landing spot for the 11-year veteran.
Joseph is averaging 8.1 points and 3.8 assists per game this season.
Would he be a worthy addition to the Chicago Bulls playoff run?
Buckley: Joseph Might Spark a ‘Mini-Bidding War’
To be clear, a buyout for Cory Joseph doesn’t seem imminent by any means.
He signed a two-year deal with the Detroit Pistons last season, with the second year being a $5.1-million player option.
Would he pass up guaranteed money, nixing his player option, to contend for a championship elsewhere?
If he does, Buckley predicts (via Bleacher Report) a wide market of interest:
His player option may have scared off suitors at the deadline, but if a buyout cut that cord, contenders could be drawn to his ferocity, leadership and experience (82 playoff games, plus a championship ring with the 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs). If teams are buying his three-point shooting (42.9 percent this season, 34.3 for his career), he might even spark a mini-bidding war.
The aforementioned three-point shooting would make Joseph a seamless fit on a Chicago team that’s posting the league’s second-best percentage (37.6%) from behind-the-arc this season.
Largely because they’re in the bottom tier of teams when it comes to makes (11.1, 25th) and attempts (29.6, 30th) per game.
The Bulls need shot creation, especially from three-point range.
Tristan Thompson’s Contract
As insider Eric Pincus reported in the aftermath of his signing, the addition of Tristan Thompson comes at an above-average price for Chicago:
The bi-annual exception, or BAE, is able to be used by teams who are operating over the cap, oftentimes contenders.
But, as the name suggests, it can only be used once every two years.
With the Thompson signing, the Bulls will now be ineligible to use it in the upcoming offseason, following their inaugural year behind the DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, Nikola Vucevic, and Zach LaVine core.
It’s a hefty gamble on Chicago’s part given that context, but with how well their season’s going, can you blame them?
Furthermore, it’s likely that the $1-million payday (as Pincus reports) is what it took to beat out Eastern Conference rivals for Tristan Thompson’s services.
And without that, they may be unable to beat out teams for Cory Joseph’s services, should he become available.
It’s quite possible the Chicago Bulls roster is set, and they’re simply awaiting the returns of Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball.
But don’t ever count out Arturas Karnisovas and company.