Bulls Considered Potential Fit for 3-Time All-NBA Scorer

Chicago Bulls

Getty Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets attends the first half at Barclays Center

The Chicago Bulls could be a good fit for Kyrie Irving if the Brooklyn Nets guard decides to opt out of his current contract this summer, writes NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. He says the current rift between Brooklyn and Irving could mean the end of the relationship.

The bottom-line is that Irving may not be in the Nets’ future plans…usually disagreements of this magnitude only go in one direction and that is towards a split

As Hughes explains, despite a season filled with controversy, he is still Kyrie Irving.

Some might argue his stock is lowered by the season that was, he’s still one of the best scorers in the league and, while controversial, somebody will take him. He’s still a future Hall of Famer in his prime who is remarkably efficient for the volume he shoots and scores.

The Bulls could be that taker.

Irving to Chicago?

Hughes makes sure to predicate his take with a stipulation. Interestingly, it revolves around the biggest Bulls story of the offseason and the ripple effect it would have.

This is entirely predicated on the possibility Zach LaVine leaves in free agency. There seems to be some momentum behind that happening, between reports out of Chicago and also LaVine saying publicly he’s always been a Lakers fan.

Between LaVar Ball and Marc Stein, the LaVine-to-L.A. hype train gathered steam rather quickly. Despite how complicated the deal would be, many still feel that LaVine will wind up elsewhere next season.

Bulls commentator Stacey King opposed claims of a rift with co-star DeMar DeRozan. But the rumors of a LaVine exit persist.

Whether it’s L.A. or not, it seems entirely possible he bolts and leaves the Bulls with a roster ready to win and a hole in their backcourt…It wouldn’t be easy, but Irving would be an ideal replacement for LaVine if it comes to that.

The Bulls would be hard-pressed to find enough cap space to accommodate Irving outside of a sign-and-trade as NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson explained on “Unfiltered” with David Kaplan.

They would also have to consider non-basketball things when it came to Irving.

Basketball and Then Some

Irving appeared in just 29 games during the regular season after refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19. He averaged 27.4 points on 59.2% true shooting while canning over 41% of his triples during the regular season.

He averaged 21.3 points on 58.8% true shooting while still connecting on 38% of his looks from outside during the Nets’ first-round sweep at the hands of the Boston Celtics.

But the battle over Irving’s compliance is still making news.

He has a player option that would lock him in next season at $36 million next season. But Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News reported that, while Irving could opt out, the Nets are unwilling to give Irving the lucrative extension that he would seek.

Beyond just last season, Irving has not appeared in 60 games since 2019 and has twice failed to play in even 30 games over the last three years.

A max deal would pay him $247 million over five years, per Winfield.

Would the Bulls be willing to commit to Irving, even on a shorter deal in the event LaVine does leave?

Potential Brooklyn Break Up

The Nets assembled Irving, Kevin Durant, and James Harden to win championships. Now they have already traded away one of those players in Harden and could be moving on from another.

It could mean Irving playing for a fourth team in his 10-year career.

Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arutas Karnisovas said he would like to see the team’s core stay together as the top teams have.

Brooklyn’s experiment is on the verge of collapse after three seasons with Irving. In the end, Irving’s reliability, or lack thereof, could be a bigger determining factor than his ability on the floor in any decisions the Bulls would have to make.

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