I am experiencing NBA draft and free agency fatigue. Thus, I plan to try to balance out my sports intake with some college football today (Illini are up big … I-L-L). I’m sure that will be easier said than done, though. While most big-name free agents are off the market, you never know what crazy trades can go down. Could the Bulls make a move?
• I tweeted out that I was ready for the start of the season earlier today. Now, I’m kind of ready to walk back that statement. I’m not going to lie folks, I’m a tiny bit concerned. I mean, have you seen what the other teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference are doing? While the Gordon Hayward contract by the Charlotte Hornets could come back to bite them in the butt, it’s hard to deny that he makes that team better. As for the Atlanta Hawks, well, they look kind of scary. At the end of last season, they added a true center in Clint Capela, and the organization has now signed Danilo Gallinari and Kris Dunn in this free agency. Throw in the fact that they drafted Onyeka Okongwu, and the franchise still has some spending power, and the Hawks look like a real playoff threat.
• Meanwhile, the Chicago Bulls have added shooting guard Garrett Temple. Don’t get me wrong, I like the signing. He is a true veteran who can play some quality minutes and help establish the new culture this organization desperately needs. However, on the court, he doesn’t really move the needle. The Bulls will head into next season with practically an identical roster to the 2019-20 campaign. I can’t necessarily say this wasn’t expected, as we’ve known forever that the team would have limited spending power, but it’s a tad unnerving as we see some of these other rebuilding teams sign difference-makers.
• On the more optimistic side of things, the Bulls have always been perceived as having better talent than the record showed. The problem was the infrastructure, and that’s exactly what the franchise made sure to fix this offseason. They added more competent front office management, a proven head coach, and a legitimate player development staff. The talent might be the same, but that’s because there is reason to believe the roster already has multiple future pieces. At the same time, the Bulls are probably reluctant to make any big moves this offseason because they are in a prime position to have max-level cap space in the coveted 2021 free agency. If the Bulls really want to make a splash, that is the time to do it. At the end of the day, this all goes back to the expected philosophy, which is to evaluate the current talent under solid leadership before deciding who stays and who goes.
• Of course, I also can not eliminate the possibility of Chicago moving pieces this offseason. While all signs point to the organization evaluating the current talent, they could still shake things up with a trade or two. After all, Karnisovas has become known for keeping things quiet up until a decision is made. Players like Thaddeus Young or Tomas Satoransky are still viewed as solid veterans around the league, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that multiple teams have an interest in either. We also know that the Bulls have gotten plenty of phone calls about their best talent. I don’t expect anything major to happen, but it just can’t be ruled out.
• Temple is ready to help fix the Bulls!
— Garrett Temple (@GTemp17) November 21, 2020
• Look, I know teams have money to spend, but some of these deals are still … uh … something. Hayward grabbing $120 million from Charlotte is A LOT. Mason Plumlee getting $25 million from Detroit is bonkers. Marcus Morris locking in $64 million from the Clippers is wild. Danilo Gallinari nailing down $61.5 million from the Hawks is big-time. Jerami Grant signing with the Pistons for $60 million is wow. Good for these guys for grabbing themselves a bag, though.
• Arturas Karnisovas is one of the most calm and collected human beings I’ve sever seen. The guy speaks with the same chill tone in every single interview, and there is something about it that can just put even the most anxious Bulls fan at ease. And while I want to believe that he was sweating profusely when the Bulls were on the clock Wednesday night like a normal person, he probably wasn’t. People are unsure about the Patrick Williams pick, but he locked-in that selection with confidence and explained why during the post-draft interview. According to him, Williams didn’t get to showcase his all-around skillset during his one-year at Florida State, and it’s only a matter of time before he does so with the Bulls.
AK on Pat Williams: "When I saw his skill level – ball handling, shooting, ability to pass – I would disagree that he's a raw athlete. He knows how to play… at FSU, he would be full court pressing guards. That's a very unique skill for such an athletic & skilled player." pic.twitter.com/mdojYTDaTV
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 19, 2020
• I don’t know about you, but I’m believing Karnisovas even more after some practice footage that surfaced online:
• Practice!? We’re talkin’ about practice!? I know, I know. We shouldn’t read too much into some open gym hooping, but it is nice to see a bit more of his ball-handling and shooting on display. I’m very curious to see how much they let him cook in the preseason, which is (surprise!) only a couple of weeks away.
• That makes two of us.
✔ Explosive athleticism
✔ Shot blocking
✔ Ball handling
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) November 21, 2020