Eli did a wonderful job rounding up the draft and trade-related rumors dished by the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson yesterday, but I just had to expand on some comments Johnson made about the Bulls’ potential approach in free agency.
Here’s a snippet of what he [Johnson] had to say regarding a hypothetical scenario in which the Bulls target a restricted free agent such as Bucks point guard Malcolm Brogdon:
“I think the Bulls are in a position they can be patient because there are a lot of options out there. You could maybe afford to tie up a significant portion of your cap space with an offer sheet to a guy like Brogdon, and if it doesn’t work out, you’re going to have other options. The musical chairs game won’t have stopped.”
In restricted free agency, a player can sign an offer sheet with any team, but a player’s original team can retain that player by matching the same offer within 48 hours. Essentially, what Johnson is getting to is that if the Bucks matched a hypothetical offer sheet from the Bulls, then then the Bulls would simply get to re-allocate their money to unrestricted free agents (think Patrick Beverley and Ricky Rubio).
The only downside is if the restricted free agent accepts the offer and/or his original team doesn’t match the deal, the Bulls won’t be as well-positioned to make improvements in the depth department because their money will be tied up elsewhere. But even if that is a risk … it might be one worth taking – if only for the upside.
There is a general feeling is that the Bulls are in a position to be patient this offseason, but there’s nothing wrong with a little *calculated and educated* risk.
If the team wants to go after a higher-profile restricted free agent such as Brogdon or D’Angelo Russell, they should have that option. Upgrading at point guard with a player who owns tremendous upside could do wonders for a franchise trying to get out of the depths of the conference. Sure, some cap space might need to be moved around to make it work perfectly, but considering the ample back-up plans in the waiting, it feels relatively safe for the Bulls to go this route.
Despite not landing a premier pick in the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery, the Bulls could travel down several different roads to accelerate the progress in their rebuild. Restricted free agency might be one of the more risky endeavors depending on the target, but it could also come with the most upside.
For more on Chicago’s options, I encourage you to listen to K.C. Johnson’s appearance on the Bulls Talk podcast embedded below.
Elias Schuster contributed to this post.