Home Sports Chicago Bulls 2024 NBA Offseason Preview: Time to Choose a Path Forward

Chicago Bulls 2024 NBA Offseason Preview: Time to Choose a Path Forward

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Chicago Bulls guard Coby White (0) tackles Detroit Pistons guard Jared Rhoden (8) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Thursday, April 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

2023-24 season: 39-43

Season highlights: After a disastrous start while having to navigate trade rumors involving former All-Star Zach LaVine, the Bulls rallied to make a run off the back of Coby White’s big play.

Despite overcoming multiple injuries, including a season-ending foot injury to the aforementioned LaVine, and seeing real growth from White and third-year guard Ayo Dosunmu, the Bulls once again failed to reach the goals. playoffs, losing their second play-in game and going on vacation early.

During the regular season, former All-Star center Nikola Vučević, for whom the Bulls paid a high price at the 2021 trade deadline, struggled mightily from 3-point territory, underscoring the dire need for spacing. for a team that was one of the worst in history. the league in that department. The 33-year-old hit only 29.4% of his outside shots and was unable to compensate for his lack of effectiveness in different directions.

That left White and DeMar DeRozan as the top two offensive centers for most of the year, which was never a recipe for sustained offensive success. Despite a glaring need for change, Chicago remained a slow-paced team (28th in the league in pace) and insisted on staying quiet at the trade deadline as teams were willing to pay handsomely for defensive ace Alex Caruso. .

The Bulls’ decision to keep Caruso was very strange considering they couldn’t seem to generate any interest in LaVine on the trade market, leaving them in dire need of acquiring assets for the future. Instead, Caruso’s trade value is likely to decline as teams will only sign him for one year.

His inaction drew a lot of criticism from fans and the media, particularly because the Bulls are repeating a pattern of passivity that has defined their last few seasons.

While Bulls management, led by Arturas Karnišovas, acknowledged the need for a change in a press conference after the season concluded, it remains to be seen if the organization will actually carry it out. As far as the fanbase goes, the franchise is having a huge summer when it comes to choosing a direction and coming up with a plan.

Coby White was a pleasant surprise for the Bulls this season. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

A legitimate playmaker. Neither White nor Dosunmu are elite playmakers, and the Bulls desperately need someone who can take full control of the offense, dictate and initiate actions, and make life easier for his teammates. Unfortunately for the Bulls, that type of player isn’t really attainable given his cap situation. Perhaps then, rather than having a specific need, one could argue that simply coming out of the summer with clarity (and organizational direction) will be enough.

If the Bulls remain in the mid-to-late lottery, they could take the best available prospect between G League Ignite forwards Ron Holland and Matas Buzelis and Colorado wings Cody Williams and 6-foot-9 French shooter Tidjane Salaun. White had a big year and the Bulls are hoping for Lonzo Ball’s return next season, which could solidify an established defense. -Krysten Peek

Projected draft picks (pre-lottery): No. 11

The Bulls won’t have much money to spend. They reportedly offered DeRozan a two-year deal worth $80 million to stay and are still on the hook for LaVine’s max contract and the $41 million remaining on Vučević’s deal. Plus, Patrick Williams needs a new contract.

However, since the Bulls are predictable, they’ll probably do what they do every other season: act like an over-the-cap team, but stay just below the luxury tax line to save a quick buck.

Key free agents

DeMar DeRozan (UFA)

Patricio Williams (RFA)

André Drummond (UFA)

Try something else. This team rarely makes big changes, but if this summer turns out to be an exception, it won’t be enough to move a few pieces and then end up with, say, Brandon Ingram. Either it’s a total dismantling or it’s a star buy. Anything else would be a lateral move. And, frankly, that has been tried.

If the Bulls decide to re-sign DeRozan, there will be major fantasy consequences. Bringing back DeRozan indicates that LaVine will likely be traded because the Bulls can’t afford to keep both players. With LaVine still on the books for three years and $138 million, the Bulls could opt to keep LaVine over DeRozan, but the results with LaVine This season they were not promising. White is in an excellent position to replicate his numbers if either situation occurs. Keep an eye on Dosunmu and Caruso as they will likely take on more prominent roles. – Dan Tito

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