Sometimes, you try to think outside the box. Other times, you stay inside the box because it’s comfortable, safe, and full of plenty of bubble wrap (you know you love to play with it too). There might be tons of mailbags out there, but I thought I might finally give it a try. The plan is to have one of these out every other week or so during the offseason. Then, depending on the response, we can make it a weekly thing next season.
Thanks to everyone who submitted questions this time around! If anyone already has some questions they would like to throw my way for next time, feel free to either comment them below this post, tweet me @BN_Bulls, or email me at elias.schuster at bleachernation dot com.
“If you needed one Bull past and present to protect you from a zombie apocalypse who would you choose?” – Nick P.
I thought you’d never ask.
First, let’s start with my present-day Zombie Fighting Accomplice. I’m going to assume for the sake of simplicity that we mean anyone on this past season’s roster, regardless of contract situation heading into next season. Also, I should make clear that both of these selections will be picked with my own perceived apocalypse skills in mind. I need to pick someone who will compliment my abilities, which I believe include a sense of direction, team motivation, and pitchfork throwing accuracy. I am not someone who is proficient in hand-to-hand combat, nor am I someone who does well in medical emergencies.
With all of that in mind, I would likely go with Daniel Theis. The man brings a sense of toughness and physicality I clearly lack. I envision no hesitation from him when it’s time to kick a Zombie’s head off or quickly stitch together a gruesome injury. Likewise, he offers a pretty agile and athletic presence, one that is needed when having to escape a building from a mob of flesh eating predators.
The selection of a past Bull is a bit harder. I could see a lot of helping hands. Joakim Noah is the ideal teammate in any situation, Luol Deng is a jack of all trades, John Lucas III could fit into any necessary small spaces, and Dennis Rodman would keep things interesting. But if I had to choose one guy, I’d probably take Scott Burrell. You always need that friend to rag on, right?
“Did Coby show that he has a future with the team with the success of his last 10-ish games?” – Brendyn J.
Future? 100 percent. Future as the team’s lead guard? Eh.
I’ve been a firm Coby White believer even since before Adam Silver read his name on draft night. I’ve always liked his scoring chops, and the way he carries himself has made me feel confident in his ability to gradually improve. While we should always be cautious about reading into success at the end of the regular season, I do think what White did over his last 18 games demonstrated that gradual improvement.
White averaged 17.6 points and 5.9 assists on 43.3 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from downtown in his final 18 starts. The chemistry he built alongside Vucevic was notable, and the lack of untimely turnovers was very encouraging (2 or less in half the games). Also, we need to remember the context in which White produced these results. The Bulls were not out of the playoff picture over these final couple of weeks. In fact, they were still very much fighting for a spot as the No. 9 or 10 seed. To see White perform this way in a more pressure-filled scenario is good stuff.
Again, exactly what role he will play moving forward is hard to say. I have now come around to the idea that he is best suited to play the Sixth Man role. Maybe he eventually moves back into the starting lineup and Donovan tries out some three-guard work with a more crafty facilitator at the point. But, to answer the question directly, yes. Coby White has a future in Chicago.
“Is there a way to trade for Lillard without including The Paw?” – Patrick Williams Fan Club
No. Next question.
I kid, I kid. Well, not about the “no,” but about not providing more context. Acquiring Lillard feels like a fever dream. Not only do I think the Blazers would be silly to move him, but the Bulls most likely don’t have the assets to pull it off. Rather than walk through all of that myself, I’ll take the lazy way out and recommend you read Rob Schaefer’s post at NBC Sports Chicago. If the Bulls did somehow get into talks to acquire Lillard, though, I fully expect the Blazers don’t accept a deal without Patrick Williams involved. The franchise trading away the superstar is ALWAYS looking for a young potential star in return.
“Better strategy for the Bulls, preserve cap space for next year or use it up to win now?” – Carlos J.
Can I hedge and say somewhere in between? All I know is that I don’t want the Bulls to tie themselves to too many long-term contracts. The 2021 free-agent class is pretty darn weak, and 2022 is currently stacked. There is always the possibility that many of the top free agents next season sign extensions beforehand (which is what greatly diminished this 2021 class), but that still does not mean the Bulls should not leave their book relatively flexible moving forward.
The only long-term deals I would expect the Bulls to make this offseason would be for someone like Lonzo Ball. Not only is he one of the better players on the market, but he is still just 23-years-old with plenty of room to develop. Otherwise, I’m hoping the Bulls can pull off some rather flexible deals.
“What is the Bulls cap situation and what does it mean in regards to signing a PG (like Ball) this off season?” – Micah P.
The Bulls cap situation is … complicated. I’ll do a more comprehensive post on all of this as free agency nears, but a lot rides on what the team does with Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young. Both players are partially guaranteed deals. If the team decides to move on from both players, they would likely be looking at around $24 million in cap space (that is also assuming the team declines Ryan Arcidiacono’s player option). Now, that number could grow even higher if the team decides to stretch and waive both players, which means they pay their remaining guaranteed salaries over the next few seasons. You can look at all the Bulls’ contracts here.
As for what this all means for their point guard aspirations, I would say not much. This position is clearly a priority, and the options on the market are not expected to be ridiculously expensive. They could run into an issue where a team like the New York Knicks runs up the asking price so high for Lonzo Ball that they have to pull out, but that kind of stuff is always a concern when a franchise does not possess top spending power.
“How does the organization feel about passing on MPJ and taking WCJ? What a terrible mistake compounded by the fact that they never really gave Gafford playing time trying to prove WCJ was the guy. Now look at DG who balled out for the wizards and of course MPJ who is killn it for Denver.” – Dave M.
This front office is not currently the one that drafted Wendell Carter Jr., so I have no clue. I also don’t know how the GarPax regime felt about it, but I’m assuming they would have pretended like everything was just peachy.
Normally, I don’t like to look at drafts like this. Passing on Michael Porter Jr. stinks, but it’s also not like he did not drop seven more picks. Everyone was equally concerned about his long-term health.
I will fully admit, though, that the Carter Jr. pick is pretty rough in hindsight. He could still pan out, but it is always a weird feeling when a lottery pick is off the team in three years (even if his departure did come in a package for a top talent like Vucevic).
“Are the bulls ever gonna be good again?” – Bryan W.
“The world may never know.” – Tootsie Pop Guy – Me