Top Free Agent Targets: Chicago Bulls
Max Cap Space: $25.2 million Projected Cap Space: $20.8 million
Ryan Borja, NBA salary cap enthusiast, made a cap sheet and predicted that the Bulls will likely end up with $22.9M in available cap space. That is the number to go by when talking about the possibilities for Chicago this summer. His cap sheet is available here.
With $22.9 million available, the Bulls' top priority will be getting a veteran point guard to help develop Coby White. Outside of the point guard position, the general need of the team is veteran leadership and defensive-minded players. This offseason isn’t about making a run in the playoffs or even assembling the best team; this offseason will be used to mentor the young guys and build a culture of toughness and defense. To accomplish that, Chicago should take a good look at some of the following players.
The Spaniard is a proven leader and would take on the mentorship role better than any other point guard on the free agent market. So long as the Bulls keep Rubio to a 2-year deal, Chicago's front office can make a fairly competitive offer. They could sign him as their “big name” free agent and still have around $8 to $10 million to play with. Bringing in Rubio would be good for White and for the culture.
The former league MVP would be a tremendous add. Rose plays a similar style to White and could mentor him in his rookie year; don't forget the Chicago-native Rose came to the Bulls as a rookie and could offer good advice to White. Rose went on to play seven seasons in Chicago and became a crowd favorite. He should be among the cheapest options for veteran point guards and could even qualify for Chicago’s $4.7 million mid-level exception. Having Rose come in without affecting our cap would be a huge win this offseason.
One of the Morris twins has been a spark for the Boston Celtics these last couple seasons and would be a great addition to the culture of Chicago. Morris can shoot, defend, and play hard. The market value of Morris isn’t particularly clear, but he could be extremely valuable for the Bulls. Morris averaged 13.9 points per game and shot 37.5 from three-point land this past season. He figures to demand a contract above the mid-level exception, but with his tenacity and experience, Morris is worth the cap space hit.
The 30-year old is one of the hottest veteran point guards on the market. He should be on the Bulls' radar, but his projected cost is in the three-year, $40M range. The Bulls are looking ahead to the 2021-2022 offseason in terms of cap and having a three-year deal would not be beneficial for the franchise's long-term plans. Outside of that concern, Beverly is a good shooter and defender. He has also proven himself in the playoffs and could represent the start of a culture change in Chicago.
The last homecoming on the list would be the return of Taj Gibson. He is another player that could potentially return to Chicago and spark a cultural shift. Gibson has historically thrived on the defensive side of the ball and could help develop second-round pick Daniel Gafford. The frontcourt is already crowded with Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. Gibson would be the next highest rotation piece, leaving little minutes for Gafford. However, Gibson can still contribute and would be a crowd favorite.