The Chicago Bulls are going for it … or at least that is how the Action Network’s Matt Moore makes it sound.
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) July 18, 2021
• While we always expected Arturas Karnisovas and Co. to be on the point guard prowl, it has been hard to gauge how much they would be willing to spend to land their guy. Well, according to Moore, the expectation around the league is the Bulls will be “big spenders” when free agency opens up early next month. In fact, the Bulls are reportedly so willing to hand out big dollars that they could look at top free-agent point guard Kyle Lowry. Whoa.
WRITING: Random league intel including some stuff on the Jazz (kind of, but probably not), the Bulls, the Pelicans, and draft stuff.https://t.co/2NjSbV2ruq
— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) July 17, 2021
• A handful of hours removed from first seeing this report, I don’t feel completely shocked the rumor is out there. Not only are the Bulls desperate for an upgrade, but all Karnisovas has done since taking over the job is surprise us with his homerun decision-making. Head coach Billy Donovan and Nikola Vucevic did not come cheap. And, with that being the case, my jaw will not be on the floor if Karnisovas does decide to work as a cap space team and add big-name fresh blood. On the other hand, my jaw will be all the way in the basement if that fresh blood is Lowry. While I do believe the 35-year-old point guard (who averaged 17.2 points, 7.3 assists, and 5.4 rebounds) has plenty left in the tank, I’m not sure he is ready to use what is left on a franchise that has missed the playoffs in four-straight seasons. He would surely help the Bulls break that streak, but does he turn them into a title contender? No, at least not in Year 1, and I have to imagine he will look for a home where he immediately has a shot at his second ring.
• Also, in reverse, would Lowry really be the preferred move? He definitely elevates the team in the short term with his playmaking and defensive intensity, but his timeline is ahead of Williams, LaVine, and (to an extent) Vucevic. How many years of success would the Bulls be paying for? Karnisovas surely wants to be back in the competitive mix quickly, but doesn’t he also want to sustain that level of play? The Athletic’s John Hollinger projects Lowry to be the 4th-most expensive free-agent get this offseason, putting his value at roughly $25 million annually. The Bulls might be willing to spend big bucks, but that is a lot to drop on a guy outside his prime when there is more work to be done on this roster. Ultimately, I think this Lowry hoopla just helps emphasize the Bulls’ willingness to be aggressive players in free agency more than it does demonstrate a true interest in the veteran.
• In other words, this could tell us the Bulls are actually willing to drop a big bag on Lonzo Ball. We learned recently the Pelicans were unlikely to match a “significant” offer sheet for the 23-year-old. If the Bulls are willing to spend what it would take for Lowry, then they should be comfortably prepared to give Ball an offer that makes the Pelicans uncomfortable.
• Stephen Noh wrote a great piece that maps out all the ways the Bulls could pursue Ball this season. Recommended read.
The Bulls have a couple of different methods available to them if they wanted to add Lonzo Ball. Here is what their moves would like like, and how realistic they are to pull off:https://t.co/7AfuIWgoby
— Steph Noh (@StephNoh) July 17, 2021
• If the organization has an interest in opening up sizable cap space this summer, then they might also have an interest in the Zach LaVine renegotiation. Doing this and snatching a big-time free agent would be complicated, but perhaps they are thinking about doing one or the other. While Moore said they would be “big spenders,” he did not say some of that big-spending could not be done in-house.
• From down 0-2 to up 3-2, the Milwaukee Bucks have been nothing short of resilient in these NBA Finals. Giannis Antetokounmpo, once again, converted on the most clutch play of the game last night. Bask in the alley-pop beauty:
Giannis Stretch My Hands. pic.twitter.com/84DYzh4U1g
— Esfandiar | Es (@JustEsBaraheni) July 18, 2021
• The real hero of last night’s game was Jrue Holiday, and that is something we have not been able to say much during these playoffs. The point guard finished the night with a huge 27 points and 13 rebounds. If the Bucks seal it in Game 6, that steal on Booker will be played right alongside the Giannis on Ayton block for years to come.
Still kind of amazed by this play. In a one-possession game, Holiday races in from 3-point line — risking leaving transition exposed — to go for FT rebound, overwhelms Booker, and Bucks get it back as result. pic.twitter.com/fSRT0jS7vk
— John Hollinger (@johnhollinger) July 18, 2021
This steal and 3-pointer sums up Jrue Holiday's incredible Game 5 pic.twitter.com/WegCHeaqSV
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) July 18, 2021
• All LeBron can do is watch.
A lot of greatness in this photo. pic.twitter.com/ZDDDQzr6Rc
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 18, 2021