Quiet offseasons are officially a thing of the past in Chicago.
One summer after arguably the busiest free agency in franchise history, the Chicago Bulls continue to make headlines. I honestly can’t remember the last time the franchise was this involved in the day-to-day NBA chatter. And while I know some of that has come via annoying (frustrating?) Zach LaVine rumors, we have also now seen the win-now Bulls thrown into a conversation about big-name talent.
Rudy Gobert is the latest player to find himself connected to Chicago, and one report even dove into what a possible trade could look like.
For more on that, make sure to check out our post from earlier today:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) June 7, 2022
• I think my insecurity in terms of taking a stance on this trade rumor is evident in the post above. I truly haven’t decided whether or not Gobert is a path worth pursuing by Arturas Karnisovas and this front office. On one hand, there is no question Gobert is a bit underrated in today’s league. Not only would he immediately turn the Bulls into one of the top defensive teams in the league, but he does provide more playoff experience than a handful of names on this current roster. On the other hand, he’s an extremely expensive and aging center who comes with stark offensive limitations. So while acquiring him would undoubtedly raise the Bulls’ ceiling, I have to wonder by how much? Enough to further shrink future flexibility? Enough to give up on Patrick Williams? Maybe … probably not … I don’t know. Ugh.
• At the end of the day, I think the Bulls would have to be absolutely certain that this move takes the team from good to *great.* And after watching the Mitchell-Gobert combo struggle to reach that mark, I have to wonder if a similar LaVine-Gobert combo can.
• BlogABull also brought up a noteworthy point. If the Bulls were to add Gobert, I have to imagine it would be under the assumption that Zach LaVine re-signs. However, having both on the roster would throw the Bulls into the luxury tax, and we all know this franchise has been very hesitant about dipping their toe too deep into that in previous years (which remains annoying).
Gobert makes $15M more than Vucevic, so this only is logical if tax-averse Bulls are not re-signing LaVine. https://t.co/GKP7sUaOHo
— BlogABull.com (@BullsBlogger) June 6, 2022
• The good news is Michael Reinsdorf did suggest to NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson earlier this season that the franchise is prepared to enter the luxury tax to build a winner. Let’s see if they hold true to that.
Something to keep in mind regarding LaVine's UFA: Ownership is on record saying it will pay luxury tax and Michael Reinsdorf said this directly.
“My hope is that he’s here for years to come,” Reinsdorf said. “And Zach knows how we feel about him.”
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) April 29, 2022
• The Athletic’s Darnell Mayberry recently did a LaVine-centric mailbag, and he made one point we shouldn’t forget:
The NBA also is about star players. Love him or hate him, LaVine has forced his way into that elite category. He’s now an Olympian, a two-time All-Star and one of the best and most efficient scoring guards in the league. He’s far from perfect, but the moment the Bulls let him go they’ll be looking to land someone just like him.
• I’ve written a similar sentiment before, but I think Mayberry puts it best. The fact of the matter is that rarely is a franchise better off losing a player of LaVine’s caliber. The moment he puts on another jersey, the franchise will be hunting for someone as marketable and talented as him. He may not be a super-duper-star, but not everyone who gets the kind of money he is about to get is on that level. LaVine is still an All-Star, and he still can be an important piece to a winning puzzle. You pay those players.
• Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report dropped an important sidenote in his recent article about the Bulls and Gobert (emphasis mine): “Adding Coby White, whose value the Bulls previously explored on the trade market, and Javonte Green would make the money work to match Gobert’s hefty contract.” While the idea of the Bulls entertaining calls on White is nothing particularly new, this does confirm that they have previously tested the waters. And, with that in mind, I think it implies they are more likely than not to do that again this offseason. As I’ve said in the past, I think White is the most likely player to find himself on the move this summer, but I’m not sure where his value stands:
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) May 6, 2022
• Speaking of trades …
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) June 6, 2022
• Lonzo Ball is saying all the right things about Chicago:
— HEIR (@Heir_Company) June 5, 2022
• I know it’s a bit meathead-y, but I do love when players talk about the city this way. To hear Ball gush about what it’s like playing in front of this fan base and living in the community only makes it that much harder not to get amped about what his career here could look like. Please, get healthy.
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) June 7, 2022