The Chicago Bulls have one lingering piece of business and there could be a good explanation.
“The Raptors have a lot left to determine after losing Fred VanVleet to the Rockets,” wrote Yahoo Sports NBA inside Jake Fischer on July 5. “Toronto did add Dennis Schröder as a replacement, and the Raptors, sources said, had also expressed interest in Bulls restricted free agent guard Ayo Dosunmu.”
According to Fischer, it is unclear if the Toronto Raptors will look to make any further moves in the wake of VanVleet’s departure.
The Bulls have been able to bring back every piece of last season’s team that they wanted to save for four players. Two players – veterans Patrick Beverley and Derrick Jones Jr. – were unrestricted free agents.
Jones decided to opt out of the second year of his contract to enter free agency and Beverley has already found a new home with the Philadelphia 76ers. Forward Javonte Green is also a free agent but there has been little mention of trying to re-sign him like the others. Dosunmu is a different story.
Ayo Dosunmu Expected to Land Multi-Year Contract
A former draft pick of executive vice president Artruas Karnisovas, Dosunmu was impressive with his maturity as a rookie but largely stagnated this past season.
Still, he was pegged for a multi-year deal this offseason.
“Dosunmu…has limited market value after a backsliding season,” wrote Sam Smith of Bulls.com on June 16. “But he’s well-liked by the coaching staff and management and expected to receive a reasonable contract for two or three seasons.”
“It’s a good experience for Ayo,” Karnisovas said about Dosunmu’s sophomore slump in his exit interview via the team’s YouTube channel. “Ayo is going to be a good player in this league.”
Dosunmu, 23, averaged 8.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists which were nearly identical to his 2021-22 stats when he earned All-Rookie Second Team honors after leading the Bulls in total appearances and starting 40 games, making him one of just 17 rookies in Bulls history to start at least that many games, per Stathead.
He is the first second-round pick to do so for the Bulls since Chris Duhon in 2004-05.
A Small Bidding War Could Be Brewing for Ayo Dosunmu
Dosumu may not have the ceiling or projected value he seemed to have last season but he is still being linked to several teams as a potential reclamation project as the Bulls continued to add to their guard rotation with Jevon Carter taking Beverley’s place.
“If San Antonio could work its developmental magic on the 23-year-old…it could turn him into a real asset,” wrote Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report on July 5. “Dosunmu is a tone-setting defender who is exceptionally skilled around the basket. Utilizing him as a ball-screener would help his talents shine whether he was rolling to the rim or creating off the catch.”
The Bulls extended the qualifying offer to Dosunmu so they would have the right of first refusal.
But, as Buckley explains, the Spurs had little else to do with their remaining cap space other than tie up the Bulls’ cap space for up to two days while the latter decided what it wanted to do with Dosunmu.
That wouldn’t take them out of the running for Dosunmu but they may prefer to tie up what they do have left in other future dealings. They do have to spend 90% of the cap by opening day of the regular season so they cannot sit on it until the trade deadline like under the old collective bargaining agreement.
Chicago might not like what it sees if it keeps waiting for Dosunmu’s market to set itself.