One More Day Until Free Agency(!), Derrick Rose Update, Team USA, and Other Bulls Bullets

You would think after being in the game for a couple of years, I would learn not to plan anything on the days leading up to free agency. You would think I’d grab a kegs-worth of Red Bull, lock myself in my office, clothespin my eyes open, and ice my fingers in between posts.

However, I’m a dumbass, and I found myself rushing to my computer or scrambling to do things on my phone this weekend. Maybe next year. 

•   Free agency is set to open up tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. CT, and the Bulls look like they plan to be very active. The team appears to be the clear front-runner for highly-coveted free-agent point guard Lonzo Ball, and we also got news this morning that both Markkanen and the front office are open to a sign-and-trade deal. Oh, and I guess JaVale McGee is somewhere on the team’s radar too. I’ll drop all that news below, in case you missed it.

•   The other juicy rumor that has gained a lot of traction recently has been the Bulls’ connection to Derrick Rose. Rumors have swirled over the last couple of weeks that the front office has been debating a reunion with the veteran point guard, and we learned on Saturday that Rose would have interest in returning to his hometown. Also, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report noted that Chicago’s interest in Rose would not be dependent on what happens with Ball. Instead, the front office is reportedly open to signing both players, which would signal quite the roster overhaul this summer.

•   The reports surrounding Rose always felt a bit far-fetched to me. I certainly believe the team has an interest in bringing him back – after all, the Bulls need to improve their bench and add quality veteran talent to help make a convincing playoffs push – but the financial side could make things difficult. The team would likely need to renounce practically all of their free agents, as well as get rid of quality veteran contributors like Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky, to open up the kind of significant cap space it would take to add Ball and Rose. Could Rose take a friendly discount to come back home and leave his team with some more flexibility? No, or at least I  highly doubt it. At 32-years-old coming off one of his highest-impact seasons in quite some time, he will look to get paid, and Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes said as much in an appearance on NBA TV’s Free Agent Fever: “Derrick Rose is only considering playoff contending teams. He also wants to get paid.”

•   Let’s not beat around the bush, the Bulls are not yet a playoff lock. While we all like their chances with the addition of Nikola Vucevic (and hopefully a strong offseason), the organization has not made it over the hump in four straight seasons. Rose is going to have franchises with a more proven track record knocking on the door, and that might be all it takes to keep him from putting a Bulls jersey back on.

•   I think we also have to consider the Bulls have clear holes to fill in the wing depth, power forward, and back-up center department. Not to mention, Rose and White could fill a pretty similar need once White returns, as both can be considered sixth man sparkplugs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m open to a reunion, but the Bulls can’t make an emotional decision. Solve the other holes first, then consider Rose.

•   The Miami Heat decided to pick up Goran Dragic’s steep $19.4 million player option for next season, which initially sounded like good news for the New Orleans Pelicans. Both teams are expected to be in pursuit of coveted point guard Kyle Lowry, and the Pelicans currently have more cap space to make a strong push. Of course, that is also good news for the Chicago Bulls, who are hopeful the Pelicans will land a free agent point guard and not even think twice about signing a Ball offer sheet. However, Miami’s decision to keep Dragic could actually help them target Lowry and re-sign free agent Duncan Robinson. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski pointed out that Dragic could be used in a potential sign-and-trade with the Raptors, while Bobby Marks made sure to mention that acting as an over-the-cap team could open the mid-level exception to sign Robinson

•   Regardless, with all the smoke that has been out there on Ball, I have to hope the Pelicans still prefer to let him walk either way. The team has also been connected to veteran Spencer Dinwiddie, per Marc Stein, so it appears they have some backup plans (before matching a contract for Ball) if Lowry does not work out. But Lowry going to Miami, and the Pelicans’ inability to land any other point guard, could potentially be the “catastrophe of a hiccup” Chris Haynes mentioned as the only way Ball does not end up in Chicago.

•   Decisions have to be made today on the partially guaranteed contracts for Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky. For more on that, click here. What they decide to do with both will tell us a lot about their free agency plans (open max cap space or not?).

•   While Team USA did grab the Exhibition victory over this squad, I’m scared for this quarterfinals matchup.

•   Wait, why don’t the Bulls just sign Benny?

https://twitter.com/chicagobulls/status/1421558176600702976?s=20

written by

Elias Schuster is the Lead Chicago Bulls writer at Bleacher Nation. He started with BN full-time in 2019 immediately after graduating from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign with a degree in Journalism (yes, he started with the Jim Boylen Era). Since joining, Elias has been the driving force behind Bulls and NBA content for both the site and social accounts. You can follow him on Twitter/X @Schuster_Elias.

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