Free Agency Week, AK Talks Continuity, Bulls in the "Driver's Seat" with LaVine, and Other Bulls Bullets

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Free Agency Week, AK Talks Continuity, Bulls in the “Driver’s Seat” with LaVine, and Other Bulls Bullets

Chicago Bulls

By the end of this week: Zach LaVine will be a Bull again, Rudy Gobert will be the starting center, Nikola Vucevic will be the backup, Deandre Ayton will be third-string, P.J. Tucker will be providing veteran experience, Miles Bridges will be ready to break rims at the United Center, Bradley Beal will have Chicago’s other two-way contract, and Michael Jordan will sign on to become a player-assistant coach.

MONEY IS FAKE!

LET FREE AGENCY BEGIN!

  • In all seriousness, we are only a handful of days away from having some long-awaited answers to important questions. Free agency will open at 5:00 p.m. CT this Thursday. Not only will Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley get to sit down with Zach LaVine to officially discuss his future with the franchise, but they can continue the aggressive team-building approach we saw around this time last year. A quick exit in the playoffs to the then-defending champions exposed just how far this roster still needs to go before they can be considered a true threat in the East, so using this upcoming week to plug holes will be crucial to taking the next step forward this season.
  • With that said, aggressive doesn’t necessarily mean explosive. While I fully expect Karnisovas and Co. to target players that will make an immediate difference moving forward, I also expect those players to be complementary to the existing core. The closer we get to the climax of the offseason, the more it seems like the nucleus we saw last season will return in full. Karnisovas has spoken about it in the past, and he repeated himself in an interview on 670 The Score’s Mully & Haugh earlier this morning.

“For me No. 1 is continuity, right? The turnover was so big. On the team, we have only two players left from the team we took over two years ago, so the continuity is huge for us,” Karnisovas said live on 670 The Score. “Also, the development of our players, that they are getting better everyday at the Advocate Center. And, of course, the experience that they had this year, also getting some playoff experience, is going to serve them well. I said that after the season. The teams that we are fighting against they have their cores for 3-4 years, and we’ve been together since last October. We need that time, still, to get familiar with each other and [learn] how to play with each other.”

  • Of course, for Karnisovas to pull off this plan, the organization has to prioritize the re-signing of LaVine. Signs pointed us toward a cliff of darkness, despair, and blood-thirsty alligators during the early portion of this offseason. Rumors swirled about LaVine evaluating other options, but those were quickly replaced with reports that reaffirmed what we all initially thought. The front office sounds like they have every intention to hand LaVine a max contract later this week, and it sure sounds like LaVine plans to put pen to paper: “We want Zach to be here for a very long time, and that hasn’t changed,” Karnisovas told Mully & Haugh.
  • NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson also suggested that a relatively effortless reunion is on the horizon, as the Bulls remain “in the driver’s seat to be his employer:”

“That’s why this is no time to play hardball or get cute in negotiations. Offer the full five-year max contract and hope LaVine accepts it. Privately, the Bulls remain confident LaVine will do so. There remains some league gossip that teams with long-shot aspirations like the Lakers remain in play, but it’s dying down.”

  • Make sure to give his full article a read below:
  • In his conversation on 670 The Score earlier this morning, Karnisovas also threw out plenty of praise for his first-ever draft pick, Patrick Williams:

“He’s an unbelievable athlete, he can play multiple positions, defend multiple positions. It’s very hard to find those guys, especially when he already has – not full seasons, obviously, he was injured last year – two seasons under his belt. We saw when he came back a glimpse of what Patrick can be. Now, you add some playoff experience and the last couple game he score 20 points. So you see his potential. He’s going to have a big summer, and I look forward to seeing him on the court next year.”

  • Does that sound like a guy who’s going to be traded? To be absolutely clear, everything Karnisovas said above should be expected. A smart front office leader would never imply that a player like Williams is on the trade block. With that said, I do think his words genuinely reflect how high this front office remains on Williams’ future development. We’ve heard reports suggest the franchise is uncomfortable parting ways with the 2020 No. 4-overall pick in a deal for someone like Rudy Gobert, and Karnisovas doesn’t make that hard to believe.
  • YOU LOVE TO SEE IT!
  • Still in the draft spirit?
  • Bring. It. On.


Author: Elias Schuster

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