More and more teams are starting to join the Bulls on the couch, but that doesn’t mean there is a lack of NBA news and storylines. Every week or so this summer, we’re going to make sure to go over some of the key conversations being had around the league, particularly as it pertains to the impending offseason and the Chicago Bulls. Not everything may be directly tied to Chicago, but I’ll make sure to connect the dots when it calls for it.
K. Let’s do the thing.
• While it may not be the offseason yet for all NBA teams, there is no question each front office is starting to think about the 2021-22 campaign. Not only could the league have another shortened offseason period, but the list of high-profile free agents has shrunk drastically from what many once thought it could be. Meanwhile, many teams are expected to have a solid amount of cap space, meaning (1) many players will either get overpaid or (2) front offices will seek out additional avenues to add impact talent. NBA analysts seem to believe the league will experience the latter, with significant trade movement happening this summer. For a little bit more on that, make sure to check out our post from yesterday.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) June 7, 2021
• The Chicago Bulls have already been linked to one trade target this summer: EuroLeague MVP Vasilije Micic. The overseas standout currently has his draft rights in the hand of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and there have reportedly been rumbling in Europe that Arturas Karnisovas could try to pry him away. This will undoubtedly be something to follow in the coming weeks, and it will be just as interesting to see whether any other organization throws its name into the Micic hat. In the meantime, however, the Bulls are likely focused on upcoming free agency (as underwhelming as it might be). The fact of the matter is the Bulls will have nine roster spots to fill, and that doesn’t include the decisions on the partially-guaranteed deals to Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young. So whether the biggest names are added via trade or *fingers-crossed* the draft, Karnisovas will be ready to attack free agency in one way or another. With that in mind, you might as well take a look at Spotrac’s list of all upcoming free agents.
• Two names we might want to keep an eye on stem from the same organization. Los Angeles Lakers’ guards Dennis Schroder and Alex Caruso are both up for new contracts this summer. I don’t envision either being an excellent fit as Chicago’s starting point guard, but I do envision both receiving a fair amount of interest around the association due to the overall lack of options. Schroder is a solid playmaker who uses his speed and craftiness to do a lot of his work inside the 3-point line. He has always been a bit of a streaky scorer but a generally dependable presence. Is Schroder a massive floor raiser? Not really, but he can get the job done. Caruso is a much more specialized player. He would certainly help the Bulls on the defensive end as a relentless perimeter hound, but he will offer little to nothing consistently on the offensive end. Whether or not either stick with the Lakers, though, is a worthwhile question, and The Athletic talked more about all of that here.
• Also, we all think Kawhi and CP3 will stay with their respective teams now, right? Thus, crushing any tiny dream the Bulls would add both and go 82-0? Rats.
• The 2021 NBA Draft will take place on July 29th, and we will find out whether or not the Bulls keep their first-round pick when the lottery hits this month on the 22nd. But, regardless of Chicago’s situation, it’s still helpful to have an idea of the top young talent that is about to enter the league. The Ringer’s draft guide is one of my favorites every year, and I encourage you to give it a look for updates.
• Remember all those potential trades we talked about, like, four bullets above?
• Damian Lillard’s future in Portland is becoming an increasingly hot talking point. And while this is rightfully an important storyline to follow, I think we also need to not lose sight of the other potential roster moves the Blazers could make.
These are unsettled times for the Blazers, and two figures will define the next steps: Neil Olshey and Damian Lillard.
On the winds of change blowing through Portland: https://t.co/XQXBms6idY
— Jason Quick (@jwquick) June 8, 2021
• The New York Knicks are practically tied to every player and their mother each offseason, but this summer there is more reason to believe they could land some notable names. Not only did the organization reach the playoffs for the first time since 2013, but the franchise is set to have some of the highest spending power in the league. In fact, according to Realgm, the Knicks can technically open up the most cap space in the NBA this offseason. One of the names the team is already tied to is Golden State Warriors wing Kelly Oubre Jr, per The New York Post’s Marc Berman. At 25-years-old, Oubre could be a solid investment for the Knicks, who could not only bring the kind of defensive intensity Coach Thibs likes but provide a decent all-around scoring ability.
• The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers are set to tip-off tonight for their Round 2 series. The Jazz will be without veteran point guard Mike Conley, who is currently dealing with a hamstring strain.
No Mike Conley tonight for the Jazz.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) June 8, 2021
• Meanwhile, the team the Clippers beat has plenty of questions to answer.
Mark Cuban says Mavericks will not make a coaching change https://t.co/2CW70G7xrw
— BasketballNews.com (@basketbllnews) June 7, 2021
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 7, 2021
• The Dallas Mavericks will have the option to extend Luka Doncic this offseason, and the 22-year-old seems more than comfortable taking their money.
Luka Doncic on signing the looming $200 million contract extension he will be offered this summer: "I think you know the answer."
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) June 7, 2021
Here is the breakdown on what a Luka Doncic extension would look like:
2022-23 | $34.7M
2023-24 | $37.5M
2024-25 | $40.3M
2025-26 | $43.1M
2026-27 | $45.9M
This is based on a $115M cap in 2022-23
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) June 7, 2021
• This is just absurd.
KD in the first seven games of the playoffs:
Shooting 50/50/90 🤯
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 8, 2021