The 2021 NBA Finals are wrapping up this week, which means that free agency is right around the corner, and the Chicago Bulls are a team to watch come free agency.
Largely because no one outside of Arturas Karnisovas and the front office has any idea what they’re going to do.
After acquiring All-Star big man Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline, the Bulls still failed to make the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season.
They can chalk some of it up to bad luck with Zach LaVine being entered into the league’s health and safety protocols for over two weeks, resulting in the guard missing 11 games down the stretch.
Still, there’s no arguing the holes in this Chicago roster as constructed, and the need for serious change this offseason if they’re to break their playoff drought.
One thing that offers the Bulls a potential route at an upgrade is Lauri Markkanen’s restricted free agency.
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Markkanen to Golden State?
When the Chicago Bulls hung onto Lauri Markannen at the trade deadline, it signaled one of two things: that they plan on resigning him this summer, or they feel confident that they can get value back for him in a sign-and-trade.
The latter seems more likely given the state of the team and their win-now mantra going into next season.
The 25-year old wing is set to enter unrestricted free agency this summer after averaging 15.4 points, six rebounds, and a steal per game this season.
But as Smith relays in his column, Oubre Jr. doesn’t exactly solve a lot of Chicago’s problems right now:
I’ve never been much of an Oubre fan because he’s such an inconsistent, streaky shooter and almost oblivious as a playmaker. He’s an excellent defender with some size and toughness, but seems to me too much of a luxury for a team like the Bulls with more immediate needs.
It’s not that the Bulls couldn’t use a defender of his caliber, but they’ve truly got to prioritize playmaking this summer.
If that’s not going to come at the point guard position, Smith suggests they look for it in a wing-like DeMar DeRozan.
Markkanen’s A Good Fit in Golden State
Lauri Markkanen’s type of play might not be a better fit on any team other than the Golden State Warriors.
The 24-year old is coming off of a rocky fourth season where he still managed to average 13.6 points, 5.3 rebounds, and shoot a career-high 40% from the three-point line on 5.8 attempts nightly.
It’s unclear if Markkanen could find himself into the Warriors starting lineup, something he’s been vocal about being a priority for him either wit the Chicago Bulls or his next NBA home.
But he would help Golden State in the two areas where they need it most: rebounding and three-level scoring from players not named Stephen Curry.
Maybe instead of Kelly Oubre Jr., Arturas Karnisovas could convince Bob Myers and company to send over the 14th overall pick, though that might take more compensation from the Bulls end.
Moore: Bulls To Be ‘Big Spenders’ This Offseason
When it came to the Chicago Bulls, he reported that there’s an expectation league-wide that they’ll splurge at point guard if given the opportunity:
The Bulls are expected to be big spenders in the free-agency market, particularly at guard.
Moore named a number of potential targets, including one not so often reported as a potential target in Kyle Lowry:
Four names are tied to Chicago: Kyle Lowry, Dennis Schröder, Lonzo Ball, and Spencer Dinwiddie. Chicago wants a playmaking point guard next to Zach LaVine.
Buckle up Chicago Bulls fans.
Things are bound to see a shake up in the Windy City this summer.