Since the Chicago Bulls 2020-21 season came to an early end, there has been plenty of chatter about 2019 second-round draft selection Marko Simonovic.
Considering front office leader Arturas Karnisovas initially said Marko Simonovic would remain overseas for at least a season after the draft, an update on his potential journey to the states was a natural question during his end-of-season press conference. Karnisovas did not provide a hard answer, but he did clarify that Simonovic remained “in our plans for sure.” Well, with the draft (July 29th) and free agency (August 2nd) only a couple of weeks away, now is the time to put those plans in motion.
Speculation has started to build online that Simonovic will, in fact, join the Bulls in the coming weeks. NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson commented on this in his latest mailbag, providing his own insight on where things currently stand.
All signs point to that transaction occurring once the NBA’s new fiscal year begins in August. His agent posted to Instagram a picture of his client with the words: “One way ticket to Chicago!”
The Instagram post that perked up ears can be seen below:
View this post on Instagram
If Simonovic is on his way to Chicago, it’s hard to believe a contract will not be signed. However, technically speaking, it is important that we remember nothing can be done until the start of the 2021-22 fiscal year. August 3rd appears to be the date we can circle on our calendars as the official start of 2021-22 transactions. I’m sure the Bulls have had conversations with Simonovic’s camp, and the two sides have an idea of what his initial NBA contract might look like, but none of that information will be finalized until the pen is put to paper next month.
Doing all of this sooner than later is certainly in the Bulls’ best interest. Not only would Simonovic fill a key position of need heading into free agency (big men Lauri Markkanen, Daniel Theis, and Thaddeus Young are all not guaranteed to stay), but it is also helpful to have a clear idea of your finances before embarking on important roster reconstruction.
Also, if a Simonovic signing is only a matter of time, it does feel even more likely that the writing is on the wall for Markkanen. Simonovic may traditionally be a center, but he carries a versatile enough game that it would not be shocking to see the Bulls give him plenty of work at power forward. Not to mention, Simonovic and Markkanen seem to carry far too many similarities to properly co-exist. Both are seven-footers who can get out in transition, put the ball on the floor, and sink shots from deep. With that in mind, Karnisovas would likely want to use Markkanen’s spot to create a more diverse roster.
As this season winds down and these important dates near, we will keep you updated on any Simonovic details. When he officially signs, and we get a better idea of what this roster looks like, I’ll also plan to talk more about what our expectations should be (he is a second-rounder, folks, so we have to proceed with caution).
Read Johnson’s full mailbag below:
Bulls mailbag, asked and answered.
Given the number of questions on him, could’ve made it the Dejounte Murray edition (who knew?) but branched out to Bulls' free agency, Marko Simonović.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 14, 2021