Arturas Karnisovas made one thing clear after the organization’s busy trade deadline:”We’re not done.”
The Chicago Bulls’ new front-office leader emphasized that the addition of five new players, including All-Star Nikola Vucevic, was only the beginning. And he reiterated that point to reporters in his end-of-season press conference, pointing out that the team will evaluate their roster needs and “attack it in free agency.”
With likely no first-round pick in hand (the Bulls sent a protected top-4 first-rounder to Orlando in the Vucevic deal), Karnisovas better hope the free-agent market is kind to him — kinder than it has been to the Bulls in quite some time. And, indeed, it doesn’t help that the volume of top talent in this year’s free-agent class has diminished. Most of the heavy hitters have already signed extensions, and those that haven’t are looking to cash in with money and rings before the end of their careers (think guys like Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, and DeMar DeRozan). Not to mention, the one name the Bulls have been tied to most often, Lonzo Ball, is a restricted free agent, meaning his current organization has the ability to match any contract thrown his way.
With all of that in mind, it’s no surprise to hear Karnisovas include “trades” as a way for this organization to get better in his May 19th presser. And, according to NBA writer Keith Smith, this actually could be the avenue many teams seek out this summer.
Talking to folks around the NBA, it might be a very busy trade market this offseason. Poor FA class & only a few teams with meaningful cap space make trades the avenue to improve. Also, teams are going to be setting up for 2022 and 2023 free agency by moving off long-term salary.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 7, 2021
I’d consider this pretty good news for the Bulls.
More opportunities could potentially clear a way for the organization to find solid returns for partially guaranteed players like Tomas Satoransky or Thaddeus Young. Additionally, we could see it become even easier for the Bulls to find a sign-and-trade package for Lauri Markkanen or even a way to move on from Al-Farouq Aminu’s $10 million.
There is no question it will still be difficult to find the right pieces. After all, they are a team trying to add with few tradable assets. But the more willing teams are around the league to work the trade market this offseason, the more options Karnisovas could have to upgrade the roster. I’ll take that.