One of the most exciting periods in the National Basketball League (NBA), free agency is in full swing. For fans, each day is like Christmas. While some fans will receive news of a promising new player joining their roster, others may be greeted by the realization that their favorite player no longer plays for their preferred team. As a big market team, the Chicago Bulls have proven to be an attractive destination for free agents. The 2022 Bulls free agency has been no different and Chicago’s fans should be thrilled about the upcoming season.
Chicago"s free agency can be summarized with one word: relief. A source of anxiety for many Chicago fans, Zach Lavine commented during the season that he would listen to offers from other teams during free agency. Not only is Lavine the best guard/ small forward available but the best player in free agency this offseason. The nerves of the Chicago faithful were quickly settled as Lavine has already agreed to a five-year contract with the Bulls; settling those nerves came with a 215 million dollar price tag. Even with the size of his contract, bringing Lavine back to Chicago was viewed as a necessity by many. Despite using the majority of their cap space on Lavine, Chicago still had the money to keep Tony Bradley and Derrick Jones Jr. Although Bradley was only commissioned 10 minutes per game during the 2021-22 season, his presence on the roster gives Chicago reliable depth at the center position. Unless Chicago makes an unforeseen trade or free-agent signing, Jones Jr. will continue to be a role player at the power forward position.
Troy Brown Jr. is the only Bull from the 2021-22 season that has found a new home. The 22-year-old small forward has secured his next opportunity on the Los Angles Lakers roster. During his two-year stint with Chicago, he was unable to develop into the player many hoped he would be. Los Angles has taken a chance on Brown Jr. because he still has to potential to become a major contributor. If Brown Jr. does not improve, he will see the same limited minutes he had in Chicago. As of now, there are four unsigned Chicago players from the 2021-22 season; those players include Tyler Cook, Malcolm Hill, Matt Thomas, and Tristan Thompson. Considering all of their recent additions, it seems that Hill could be the only one of them to receive a contract from Chicago.
Brooklyn Nets fans will find familiar faces on Chicago"s roster this season. Chicago has signed guard Goran Dragic and center Andre Drummond. Signing former all-star Dragic to a veteran"s minimum contract has added depth to a point guard at a great value. Although Dragic is past his time as an all-star, his playoff performance proved that he can still play meaningful minutes. Dragic possesses a respectable three-point shot and the ability to find open teammates. There will be competition for playing time as there are viable guards on Chicago"s roster already; of those guards will be recently signed rookie Javon Freeman Liberty. Four-time total rebound champion and two-time all-star Andre Drummond will address one of the biggest needs Chicago had in the 2021-22 season. Drummond"s average of 9.3 rebounds per game made him the third-best rebounding free agent this year; both free-agent centers that averaged more rebounds are expected to resign with their 2021-22 season teams. Coming in as relief for current starting center Nikola Vucevic, fans should expect to see Drummond on the floor consistently this season.
Chicago"s pending contracts for this season put them over the NBA"s max cap of $123,655,000; they are roughly 3 million dollars away from passing the luxury tax threshold. With only 17 players on their roster, Chicago"s next free agent signings will be with unproven players. Malcolm Hill is a former Chicago player has a chance at receiving a contract. Makur Maker is a rookie currently playing for Chicago"s summer league that has the opportunity to be noticed. A contract with a rookie such as Makur would be valued under 1 million dollars. Other prospects for the 2022-23 roster would be rookies currently playing for other organizations" summer league teams. A.J. Lawson is one rookie who is currently being noticed around the league. Lawson"s average of 28 points per game should have teams looking to take a chance on him; he is also currently boasting a 62% three-point average. Whoever Chicago signs next, their contracts will be small enough to stay below the luxury cap.
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