Between the Chicago Bulls’ selection of Coby White in the NBA Draft and the rumors surrounding Malcolm Brogdon as a free agent option who could represent a splash signing, D’Angelo Russell has slowly been taken out of the conversation of potential Bulls free agent targets.
But perhaps that shouldn’t be the case.
If Nets make D'Angelo Russell unrestricted, I'd say it's a no-brainer for #Bulls to make their best pitch. He'd be a nice fit with current lineup and how often do you get a chance to snag a 23-yo all-star?
— Mike McGraw (@McGrawDHBulls) June 29, 2019
Mike McGraw covers the Bulls for the Daily Herald and provides us with an interesting angle on the eve of free agency’s opening. Should the Brooklyn Nets make D’Angelo Russell an unrestricted free agent, it would be a “no-brainer” for the Bulls to take their best swing at a player of Russell’s ilk. And why shouldn’t they?
Russell is coming off an All-Star campaign in his age 22 season in which he averaged 21.1 points, 7.0 assists, and 1.2 steals over 81 games. In any other free agency climate, Russell would be a hot commodity. But with Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, and Kemba Walker headlining the pack this year, a secondary star-caliber player such as Russell isn’t at the forefront garnering as much attention as he possibly could. And that’s where a team such as the Bulls could take advantage of a situation, swoop in, and snag a potential core piece for their rebuild.
Some things would need to shake out in the Bulls’ favor in order for this to happen. For starters, the Nets would have to land point guard Kyrie Irving and possibly another max player to make Russell superfluous to their team. From there, Brooklyn would have to remove the restricted free agent label on Russell, which would then make him available as an unrestricted free agent. Of course, the path to signing Russell after that isn’t a straight line either. Other teams such as the Lakers or Timberwolves (who have been rumored to be interested in meeting with Russell) could pivot and prioritize the talented guard.
Whether the Bulls should chase Russell is up for interpretation. Adding Russell at this stage of his career lines up well with Chicago’s young core. It would also go a long way toward bolstering the backcourt. And while it would chew up some of the minutes that would have gone to White as a rookie, it would also allow the Bulls to use their top draft pick differently — perhaps as a sixth man or second-unit leader. (MICHAEL: I agree. Of course, we also just learned that the Bulls were potentially lined up for a deal with a lesser free agent, Darren Collison, before he retired earlier today, so who’s to say which way they’ll go. Hell … they might not even know.).
The Bulls haven’t been connected to any of the superstars in the days leading up to what figures to be a frenzied NBA free agency period that opens up tomorrow, but what happens with the brightest stars could impact how things shake out with a potential star on the horizon.