You can say a lot about the Chicago Bulls front office this offseason (and for the preceding decade), but you can’t say they haven’t been busy.
After drafting their point guard of the future in Coby White a couple weeks ago, they have squeezed every ounce of their remaining, limited cap space with deals for forward Thaddeus Young and point guard Tomas Satoransky (to say nothing of the smaller moves like extending Ryan Arcidiacono for three years and pursuing a trade for Kris Dunn).
And they’re apparently not done yet:
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 3, 2019
Although the Bulls already have big men Wendall Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen in place as starters this season, they made no effort to hide the fact that they were looking to surround their young talent with the type of supporting cast that can elevate them on and off the court. And while Kornet is more of a role-player than, say, Thaddeus Young (who’s more at a starting-type level), there’s still plenty to like.
For example, Kornet, 23, is decently efficient around the basket, but also has a three-point shot, which is a plus for a big man, especially in today’s more position-less league. On top of that, at 7’1″, he’ll be the tallest man on the roster.
Back when he was a target for Oklahoma City, Brendan Kurie had this to say about the now-newest member of the Bulls: “Kornet — who has played 71 percent of his NBA minutes at center, per basketball-reference.com — hit 36.3 percent on 4.2 three-point attempts per game last season. Over 66 career games, he has shot 36 percent from deep on 8.8 attempts while averaging 14.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.9 blocks per 36 minutes.”
If you’re wondering why a big man with those numbers at age 23 was not a candidate for a bigger/better contract than the two-year deal he’s reportedly taking from the Bulls, it’s probably because he’s made just 42.6% of his shots from inside the arc and is otherwise a career 38.2% shooter from the floor. He’s still got some upside, I suppose, but it’s fair to wonder if he’ll actually get enough time to pursue that on this roster. In other words, I don’t think that’s why the Bulls signed him, but it’s still better to amass talent where and whenever you can.
Again, he’s not perfect, but as a part-time player behind Wendall Carter Jr., Lauri Markkanen, and others, it’s a fairly solid pickup in a very busy offseason.
As for the deal itself, it’s not yet clear how the Bulls intend on fitting Kornet into the picture, as K.C. Johnson points out on Twitter:
Bulls indeed have verbal commitment from Luke Kornet. But it’s not yet clear if he’ll slide into room exception. They may be working to find another way to create more cap space.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 3, 2019
He could fit in as the room exception, but it’s entirely possible that the team will continue their efforts to trade Kris Dunn and save enough cap space to make the signing without using it. In any case, we’ll update this post, as soon as we know more about this deal.