Unless Arturas Karnisovas has duped the entire NBA universe (not out of the question), Lonzo Ball is the Chicago Bulls’ top priority when free agency opens at 5:00 p.m. CT today.
However, while the organization does appear to be in a good position to land its next starting point guard, we all know this league has a knack for being unpredictable. Karnisovas and right-hand-man Marc Eversley must walk into this free agency period with several options, which brings us back to Dennis Schroder and Derrick Rose.
Both veteran point guards have been thrown into the Bulls conversation in recent weeks. Rumors have swirled that head coach Billy Donovan could be interested in a reunion with Schroder, who played two seasons under Donovan’s guidance in OKC. The Athletic’s John Hollinger and Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix still mentioned Chicago as possible suitors for Schroder in their most recent intel posts. Of course, though, both mentions came after the Bulls were tied in a much stronger fashion to Ball.
Meanwhile, the Action Network’s Matt Moore also suggested Schroder as a possible backup plan, or even a smokescreen, for the Bulls.
There were rumblings about Chicago’s interest in Schröder a full month ago. Whether that’s a backup plan to Ball or a smokescreen to disguise their efforts towards Lowry remains to be seen. League insiders have said Schröder’s camp has maintained nothing but the highest of expectations salary-wise.
Moore previously reported Chicago was interested in Kyle Lowry, but targeting him always felt far-fetched. Not to mention, with reports surfacing that Miami is the front-runner to land the veteran, it feels highly unlikely Chicago puts up a strong fight for his services.
Schroder, on the other hand, has always felt a realistic backup plan. I know the Lakers point guard has been asking for an absurd amount on his next contract after turning down a four-year $84 million extension from LA, but the market will ultimately dictate how much he gets paid. I would be very surprised if this is the direction the Bulls ultimately turn (I don’t think he fits all that well), but he is one of the more proven names on the market after Ball.
As for Rose, reports have surfaced that the two have “mutual interest” in a reunion. Rose likely would not be considered for the starting point guard position, but he would add experienced and vital depth to a position of need.
The Athletic John Hollinger provided more on the Rose-Bulls connection, even dropping a potential contract number:
Going back to Chicago, a possible backup plan for the Bulls is a reunion with Derrick Rose at $12 million a year or so, a number they can reach without stretching anyone. Alternatively, Chicago coach Billy Donovan might also pursue a reunion with Dennis Schröder, who could find himself squeezed in a deep point guard market.
I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I will be genuinely shocked if Rose returns to Chicago this summer. The Bulls have several other areas of need that must be addressed before a Sixth Man spot ($12 million can help feel plenty of other gaps). Not to mention, while Rose might be a solid sparkplug presence off the bench, Coby White could fill a similar role once he returns from his current injury. We also can not forget that the New York Knicks have plenty of cap space, and The New York Posts’ Marc Berman has reported the organization wants Rose back.
Other names on the market we can not forget are Spencer Dinwiddie, Jalen Brunson, and Devonte’ Graham. The Bulls have not been linked to either recently, but we all know how much Karnisovas likes to keep things close to the vest.
Anyway, only a couple of more hours before we get some answers!