Summer League Finale, the Markkanen Wait Continues, Grabbing Caruso, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Summer League Finale, the Markkanen Wait Continues, Grabbing Caruso, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

If the Chicago Bulls are truly back, the NBA will confirm it later today.

The national television schedule for the 2021-22 season is set to drop at 2:00 p.m. CT. Over the past two seasons, Chicago has failed to crack more than two games across ESPN, TNT, or ABC. But, as one of the most active team’s this offseason with substantial additions of Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso, it’s hard to imagine we do not see this franchise return to a steady rotation of nationally televised games.

Not to mention, Zach LaVine will be fresh off his first All-Star nod and an Olympic gold medal. The United Center is also set to be rockin’ once again on a nightly basis, and we all know that is a tough ticket to turn down if you’re the NBA league office (or me!)

We’ll make sure to get you a post as soon as that news drops.

•   Summer League came to a close for the Chicago Bulls last night in explosive fashion. Ayo Dosunmu and Marko Simonovic led the team to a dominant 99-74 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. All five of the Bulls starters finished in double-figures, with Dosunmu recording a game-high 19 points on a 7-14 shooting performance from the field. While it was encouraging to see both the Bulls’ second-rounders finish with a win, the five-game Summer League stint still leaves plenty of questions about both players moving forward (which, to be fair, is totally fine and expected). Dosunmu may have scored at a decent clip Monday night, but he struggled to have the same impact we saw against the Grizzlies. He failed to record a single rebound and dished only one assist. Dosunmu also went 0-3 from downtown, which capped off a 1-12 finish from behind the arc in Summer League.

•   Dosunmu’s 3-point shot has always been an area of concern for NBA scouts. He did improve his clip with a 39.0 percent shooting performance during his junior year of college, but it came on just 2.9 attempts per game. Fortunately, his high-IQ playmaking, smooth mid-range jumper, and ability to get to the rim made up for this lack of long-range shooting. However, not only did Dosunmu look to have more difficulty creating in the halfcourt against this level of competition, but he is also not in line to have the ball in his hands nearly as much as he is used to. If he can’t be a real threat to space the floor and knock down catch-and-shoot 3’s, then it is only going to be harder for him to find meaningful playing time in this loaded Bulls backcourt.

•   Marko Simonovic, on the other hand, might eat second unit minutes right away. Sure, part of this is due to the fact that the Bulls could end up thin in the frontcourt, but he has also looked ready to contribute in Las Vegas. Simonovic averaged 12.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting from the field with 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. More importantly, he provided this Summer League crew with endless hustle, strong screen-setting, and some smart interior playmaking. There is no question he needs to add muscle to compete with NBA size, but I was impressed with how he did the little things. Simply put, he doesn’t seem like major liability in any one category, and I think that should be enough to earn him time early this season.

•   Please hold while we transfer you to someone who knows what the hell is going on with Lauri Markkanen. The Chicago Bulls big man has still not found a new home, and any reports on possible sign-and-trade negotiations have failed to gain much steam. All we really know right now is that the Bulls continue to hunt for first-round draft compensation in any kind of deal. NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson did write, however, that the team might have to consider dropping that asking price.

But given all the positive momentum this offseason has created, bringing back a player who has made it clear he’d like to be elsewhere seems less than ideal. So perhaps the Bulls lower their asking demands to accept second-round picks or a first-round pick with a long-term contract for a player they don’t love attached.

•   It’s simply a fact that the longer this drags on, the higher Markkanen’s chance of returning on his $9 million qualifying offer becomes. As I’ve written numerous times before, this isn’t the worst outcome in the world, but there is no denying it could bring some weird energy to a revamped locker room.

•   The Athletic’s Sam Amick provided some background info on the Alex Caruso signing, writing that one source insisted the Lakers wanted the defensive-minded guard back, and the price just got too high for LA. Whether it be money or desire for a guy like Caruso, I continue to be encouraged by the fact this front office is operating aggressively. Chicago Bulls fans have not seen that in quite some time.

•   The New York Knicks finalized their sign-and-trade deal to acquire sharpshooter Evan Fournier from the Celtics. Just like the last offseason, Boston has now created a substantial trade exception worth roughly $17 million.

•   This is a solid buy-low option on Jarrett Culver by the Grizzlies.

 


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Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.