The Chicago Bulls could have to get creative to fulfill the rest of their offseason wishlist.
Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said as much during his exit interview on April 18. In what is still the early going of free agency, an opportunity to do just that may be presenting itself with the rival Boston Celtics.
– Grant Williams (sign-and-trade)
– Ayo Dosunmu (sign-and-trade)
Williams, 24, is a big body at 6-foot-6 and 236 pounds who averaged 8.1 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists this past season while shooting 39.5% from beyond the arc. Despite his ability to stretch the floor and play with physicality, he found himself on the fringes of Celtics head coach Joe Mazzula’s rotation until the Eastern Conference Finals.
He averaged 7.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists and shot 42.9% from deep in the series.
Williams is a restricted free agent meaning the Celtics have the right of first refusal on any contract offer sheet he may sign. But there is a question of whether his time in Boston is up after the Celtics traded for Kristaps Porzinigis this offseason.
“For me, it’s a matter of making sure you’re in a great position for the rest of your life,” Williams told Bobby Manning of CLNS Media on July 1.
Boston is currently $13 million into the luxury tax, per Spotrac, and appears content to let Williams’ market play out rather than risking an overpay and crossing into the new $182 million second luxury tax apron, per Adam Himmeslbach of the Boston Globe on June 30 which could present an opportunity for the Bulls to step in with a double sign-and-trade.
Celtics Could Ease Loss of Marcus Smart With Ayo Dosunmu
The Celtics attempted to move veteran Malcolm Brogdon in the iteration of their trade for Porzingis that was initially reported which would have shipped him to the Los Angeles Clippers as he begins a two-year, $45 million extension next season. They have re-engaged the Clippers in those talks which could create a need for another guard.
Could Chicago interest Boston in Dosunmu as a replacement?
Dosunmu, 23, averaged 8.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists this past season. He did not shoot the ball well from deep, knocking down just 31.2% of his threes, though he did hit 40% of his (few) pull-up threes on the season and shot 37.6% from beyond the arc as a rookie.
He also led the Bulls in total appearances in 2021-22 earning his way to All-Rookie Second Team honors – something Williams did not do – and made 80 appearances this season.
But things between him and the Bulls have been quiet in the early going of free agency.
Ayo Dosunmu Could Be Odd Man Out in Bulls’ Rotation
This past season, Dosumu seemed to take a step back but he stagnated more than regressed as his production remained largely the same. Still, that was enough to cost him the starting point guard position he opened the regular season with and things never got back on track for Dosunmu leaving the Bulls to sign Patrick Beverley after the All-Star break.
With Coby White re-signing on a three-year, $33 million contract and 2022-23 All-Defensive First-Teamer Alex Caruso still around – though possibly in more of a utility role than purely as a guard – Dosunmu could get squeezed out of the Bulls’ rotation.
Karnisovas is still high on the former No. 38 overall pick and 2021-22 All-Rookie Team member.
This is simply a situation where the numbers could point to a potential trade with the Celtics being advantageous to both sides – generally a requisite in getting a deal done.
Double sign-and-trades are even rarer than those of the singular variety but there have been notable examples – Kevin Durant going from the Golden State Warriors to the Brooklyn Nets for D’Angelo Russell in 2019 – that show it’s not as implausible as it may seem. Especially when both sides get what they need out of it.