How would this starting 5 for the Chicago Bulls sound for an opening night lineup?
- PG – TJ McConnell
- SG – Zach LaVine
- SF – DeMar DeRozan
- PF – Patrick Williams
- C – Nikola Vucevic
Some Bulls fans may love or hate this look, but the next question is how would this even work? The two names that should jump out are DeMar DeRozan and TJ McConnell, because neither is currently a member of the Bulls roster.
However, both are free agents and there is some reason to believe either or both could be had if Chicago is interested.
Bulls Reportedly “Generally” Interested in Signing DeRozan
We mostly hear the Bulls connected to point guards lately, but Bleacher Report’s Joseph Zucker reported Chicago were among four teams showing interest in the 31-year-old swingman from the San Antonio Spurs:
Veteran swingman DeMar DeRozan is generating interest from the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls, according to The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears. Spears reported Monday on The Jump that a return to the San Antonio Spurs isn’t out of the question, either. The 31-year-old spent one season at USC and is a native of Compton, California, so a move to either Los Angeles franchise would get him back home. DeRozan’s time with the Toronto Raptors showed he was miscast as the No. 1 star on a team with championship aspirations. In more of a supporting role, he’s a fit on almost any contender in the league.
DeRozan figures to command a hefty salary, which will require the Bulls to either sign-and-trade Lauri Markkanen to the Spurs, or to allow him to walk away without compensation. Chicago would also have to renounce the rights to Tomas Satoransky, Thaddeus Young and others.
So what about addressing the point guard spot?
The TJ McConnell Angle
While McConnell isn’t a name that jumps off the page, the veteran point guard is a strong on-ball defender, and he can run an offense. The worst part about his game is that he’s not an excellent three-point shooter.
For his career, he has made just under 33% of his attempts. Some of his limitations on offense may be the factor that limits his earning potential.
Mark Schindler of Indy Cornrows wrote this about that aspect of his free agency:
TJ McConnell just had the best season of his professional career this past season, which makes things murky when looking at his free agency. How will his play this past season in a scheme that maximized him translate? McConnell has proven that he is a valuable NBA player, but I’m genuinely curious to see how the league views this past season from him. There are very real concerns about his ability in the half court that have hampered his playoff viability in the past.
McConnell is ideally a backup point guard option. If he is a Bull, Chicago would be better off with Coby White as the starter and McConnell as his backup bringing a defensive punch when called upon.
We’ll see. The chips begin to fall on Thursday night at the NBA Draft.