If the Chicago Bulls keep this up, I might have to draw a bath, turn on some ocean sounds, and start my breathing exercises.
To say the first day of free agency was a disappointment would be an understatement. The Bulls sat on their hands as numerous Eastern Conference competitiors added valuable starters and rotation players to their roster. No, we didn’t see a ton of superstar movement or league-altering signings, but we did see a handful of marginal moves that surely pushed teams in the right direction.
The Bulls can still accomplish something similar, which is why I haven’t started any form of meditation just yet. But I’d be lying if I said my confidence hasn’t dwindled slightly. A handful of the free agents who seemed to fit for this team are now off the board, and questions about whether or not the franchise will step up to enter the luxury tax let any contending team should have only grown.
Speaking of which, if the Bulls do everything in their power to avoid that tax line, the meditation might have to go up a notch. We’re talking two-week silent retreat in the mountains. Maybe I should ask now if Bleacher Nation will cover that?
- We still can’t rule out some kind of big move. While I’m not sure how confident I am in that happening, it is possible that trade discussions have been a reason why the Bulls have been so quiet. After all, the Kevin Durant news slapped every front office in the face only a couple of hours before free agency began yesterday, potentially throwing many previous plans out the window. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst spoke to that point this morning, emphasizing on Get Up that Durant could stall certain actions until he finds a new home.
- To be clear, this doesn’t mean I think the Bulls will land Durant. A possible trade is just big enough that it could include several teams and could impact how a number of organizations do business. In other words, the Bulls may want to see how that dust settles before they can survey how to continue building out this roster. I can understand that approach, but this is also me giving them the benefit of the doubt (which could prove silly).
- Andre Drummond is fine. He isn’t as good of a signing as some Bulls fans have suggested. He also likely isn’t as bad of a signing as other Bulls fans have suggested. To put it differently, Drummond is at least better than Tristan Thompson and Tony Bradley. The 28-year-old former All-Star will at least offer an elite rebounding skillset and sizeable interior presence that can eat real rotational minutes. With that said, he also isn’t Isaiah Hartenstein or Mo Bamba … or even JaVale McGee.
- UPDATE: More on this coming, but potential Bulls target Danilo Gallinari has found a new home that is not Chicago.
- He lacks the upside and versatility of players like Hartenstein and Bamba, and he lacks the legitimate rim-protection of a player like McGee. I’m not saying I wanted the Bulls to necessarily reach the price paid to those other players (I wouldn’t have minded the Hartenstein contract), but I can’t imagine Drummond was the first or second option. The Bulls likely missed out on the kind of backup bigs that better fit their style of play and complemented their existing talent, which is a bit frustrating.
- I’ll eventually get more into the nuances of signing Drummond, but I think the main reason I’m not super jazzed is that the potential rim-protecting hole still exists. Drummond has an imposing presence, yes, but he isn’t a particularly stout defender. The Bulls probably hope that their perimeter defense is enough to make life easier on him, which I guess is a possibility if the team can stay healthy. I just would like this roster to add a more legitimate frontcourt defender after how fast we saw the defense deteriorate last season. Are Rudy Gobert talks still going on?
- Another reason the Drummond signing is a bit frustrating isn’t even Drummond’s fault … it’s the front office’s.
- As Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago points out above, the Bulls’ use of the BAE in the middle of last season has likely bitten them in the butt. They decided to use that money on Thompson, who proved pretty unreliable and is now headed to another team. The decision felt a bit risky a the time, and we are now seeing exactly why.
- Lowkey, I would have taken Porter back on this Bulls team. They could have used his defense and 3-point stroke (assuming he could stay healthy).
- Once a rumored Bulls target, it’s easy to see now why Robinson is staying in New York. Bulls couldn’t (and probably shouldn’t) meet that asking price.
- A risk worth taking?
- I know it’s probably the last thing on your mind right now, but the Bulls did announce their Summer League roster yesterday!
- You love to hear it!