With the offseason in full swing for the Chicago Bulls, the team is currently hoping they can re-sign All-Star free agent Zach LaVine. Ever since the Bulls’ season ended rumors have been swirling that LaVine could depart Chicago for several different destinations.
Reports have indicated so far that the Bulls plan to off LaVine a max contract of five years $212 million. The most another team could offer LaVine is four years $157 million unless the Bulls agreed to a sign and trade.
LaVine for his part recently said when asked by TMZ that he’s a “big fan” of the Lakers. He also underwent a successful scope procedure on his injured knee
Mocks Tie Bulls to Eason
While the Bulls can’t do anything about Zach LaVine until he officially hits free agency in early July, the Bulls will have a chance to improve their roster on June 23 with the NBA Draft. With the draft less than a month away that means the mock drafts are coming fast and furious.
Over the last couple of weeks, both ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie have released mock drafts. Both Givony and Vecenie have the Bulls taking LSU forward Tari Eason with the 18th overall pick. Vecenie cited his defensive versatility as the reason the Bulls should pick Eason.
Eason is one of the more productive players in this draft class, a 6-foot-8 forward who averaged 17 points, nearly seven rebounds, two steals and a block while shooting 52 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3. His jumper looks a bit messy, as he has catapult-like mechanics that might take some time to iron out. He’s also not a terrific playmaker for others. But defensively, there are few prospects in this draft with more potential to guard a variety of players on the ball. He can lose his way at times while executing his team’s scheme, but I bet teams are willing to bet on him figuring that out. The Bulls have a great set of perimeter players already in Alex Caruso, Lonzo Ball, Coby White, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine, assuming LaVine re-signs this summer. They could use another forward who can defend to give them better lineup versatility, something they lacked this year when Patrick Williams missed most of the season with a wrist injury.
Eason just recently turned 21 years old and is coming off of a breakout sophomore season at LSU. The 6’8 forward earned first-team All-SEC honors and was named the SEC Sixth Man of the Year.
Fit with the Bulls
As Vecenie noted Eason is a versatile defender with the ability to switch and guard multiple positions. With the way, the Bulls struggled down the stretch defensively trying to improve their defense with a player like Eason makes a lot of sense.
The Bulls also lacked three-point shooting this past season and Eason could help in that area as well. While Vecenie did note that his shot mechanics need some work, Eason shot 35.9% from three this past season.
Eason’s 7’2 wingspan would also give the Bulls some extra rim protection, another area they struggled in this season. With the draft quickly approaching, Eason is definitely a prospect for Bulls fans to keep an eye on.