The Chicago Bulls had a successful 2021-22 season as they made it back to the playoffs for the first time in five years. The Bulls were knocked out in the first round by the defending NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks 4-1.
While the season ended in a disappointing fashion, the Bulls were still able to take a big step in the right direction as a franchise. Now the question looms this offseason of can they take the next step as a team towards being a championship contender.
The first order of business for the Bulls this offseason is trying to re-sign All-Star Zach LaVine who is an unrestricted free agent. For his part, LaVine has said he plans to enjoy the free agency process.
What LaVine decides will ultimately shape the Bulls’ offseason. The front office has expressed a desire for continuity after a busy offseason last year. If LaVine re-signs the Bulls will probably just look to add role players to fill some needs, but if LaVine signs elsewhere the team will have to be aggressive trying to replace him.
Run it Back
Most of the Bulls roster has expressed a desire to run it back next season after getting healthy this offseason. That notion continued over the weekend as the Bulls released a video on their Twitter account called “All-Access 2021-22 Season.”
Towards the end of the video Bulls, All-Star DeMar DeRozan issued a strong statement on the team for next season.
“I can assure you we’re going to come back even better next year. Without a doubt,” said DeRozan.
While DeRozan doesn’t say anything about LaVine directly, it’s fair to think he’s confident that he’ll be back. LaVine did recruit DeRozan to join the Bulls last offseason.
Speaking of LaVine he’s also featured in the video and discusses his season and the knee injury he battled through.
“You know managing my knee at the percentage it was,” said LaVine, “I think I still had a hell of a year. You know, I was an All-Star, you know, helped the team get back to the playoffs. You know I was able to maintain this and figure out, you know, really figure out how to play at not 100%.”
The video also includes comments from Nikola Vucevic, Patrick Williams, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Ayo Dosunmu, and Coby White. All of them echo the statement throughout of coming back stronger next season.
A Huge Offseason
While the Bulls players and the front office are expressing desires to run it back, only time will tell if that ends up happening. The first domino will be LaVine’s free agency decision.
The Bulls also have concerns about Ball, who was not able to return after injuring his knee in January. He recently said that his recovery is still at a standstill, which is troubling for Ball and the Bulls.
The good news for the Bulls is they could be able to add another contributor through the upcoming NBA Draft. Chicago currently holds the 18th overall pick and will hopefully be able to land a player that can contribute right away.
While the Bulls’ offseason last year was a huge success, you can make the case that this offseason is just as important. If they hope to take the next step as a team next season they’ll need to push the right buttons this offseason.