I have my first gripe with the Chicago Bulls new front office. I understood the delay in firing Jim Boylen. I can respect the move to draft Patrick Williams with the No. 4 pick. I am more than willing to wait until after this offseason for some kind of big roster shake-up. But deciding to drop some free agent news on Thanksgiving morning after sitting on your hands for a week? WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE!?
I woke up on Thursday with extra sleep and extra room in my stomach. I threw on a pair of stretchy pants and began my journey to the couch. Right before entering pure Thanksgiving morning bliss with coffee in hand and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the TV, Woj hit up my phone like, “BULLS SIGNED THAT ONE BIG MAN THAT PLAYED 21 GAMES FOR THEM A COUPLE SEASONS AGO LOLZ LOLZ LOLZ SUCKER.”
Nah, in all honesty, it wasn’t a big deal. I’m just being dumb.
• In case you did miss it, though, the Bulls did sign Noah Vonleh and Zach Norvell each to a one-year deal on Thursday. While neither has been officially announced by the team, I think the expectation should be that both are nothing more than training camp signees. The team can fill the roster with three additional talents for training camp, and those one-year deals are typically partially or non-guaranteed. Not too often do these players end up actually cracking the roster, but I’d say it’s more possible than normal in this current case. Both guys – Vonleh more than Norvell – have decent NBA experience already, and it’s not like the players at the bottom of the Bulls roster are must-keeps. Cristiano Felicio and Luke Kornet, for example, are both on expiring deals. The new front office could opt to waive either one to make room for Vonleh or Norvell.
• At the same time, it’s always nice to have those expiring contracts in the back pocket. Who the hell really knows what this front office has in store for us, but the lack of offseason moves tells me that we can expect a more active Bulls organization during the season. I would genuinely be surprised if this team stays the same throughout the entire 2020-21 campaign. Unless the plan would be to move on from a boatload of players during the offseason, it feels like the trade deadline is worth some extra attention for Bulls fans this season.
• December 21st is an important deadline. Not only will this be the day the Bulls official roster takes shape, but it’s also the deadline for a Lauri Markkanen extension (also, the below tweet came before Chicago reportedly signed Norvell, so the team would now be at 17 contracts).
The roster in Chicago is now at 16 players (not including both Two Way players)
The Bulls will have until Dec. 21 to trim down to 15.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) November 26, 2020
• Patrick Williams might be considered a fine investment in league circles, but that doesn’t mean folks expect much out of him in his rookie season. The Athletic’s Zach Harper didn’t even include the NCAA’s youngest prospect in his latest “most likely to …” column. I doubt anyone will have him in the preseason ROY conversation, and I don’t think anyone is expecting any version of a big-time performance from him early-on. All things considered, that’s kind of a bummer … but, hey, maybe he’ll surprise some folks!
• NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson wrote up some of his “bold” predictions for the new Bulls season. Let me preface what I’m about to write with the following: I highly respect K.C.’s work and in no way is this meant to insinuate otherwise. Now … are we sure these predictions are truly “bold?” I mean, Lauri Markkanen averaging 18 points and 8 rebounds kind of feels like it should be the expectation. I know he is coming off a career-worst season, but Markkanen averaged 18.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in 2018-19. I guess the Bulls have even more mouths to feed, which means this is harder to achieve, but he has done it before and should probably do it again. As for the Bulls cracking the play-in tournament, I feel like a bold prediction would be either them easily missing it or somehow cracking the top-8. Anyway, I don’t want to pick this apart too much, but I think this just demonstrates how the “expectations” or “bar” for this team varies quite a bit (which is okay!).
• I will be doing some of my Black Friday shopping over at Fanatics. Join me.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) November 27, 2020