Saturday, June 25, 2022

Bulls are considered the “main competitors” of rivals for the athletic shot blocker

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The ties between the Chicago Bulls and upcoming free agent center Mitchell Robinson are growing stronger by the day. After The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor linked the Bulls to the New York Knicks big man, we now have a better idea of ​​where they stand in his pursuit.

It also follows a report by NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson that the “safe bet” is for the core of the Bulls to return.

That wasn’t always the word that circulated in League circles.

But it fits with what Arturas Karnisovas, the Bulls’ vice president of basketball operations, has said since the close: Continuity produces the results the Bulls strive for. And that most of their improvement will be around the edges, where Robinson would fit in pretty well.

The chatter surrounding the 7-foot Robinson began before the close of trading last season. At the time, The New York Post’s Marc Berman reported that the bulls were in trade talks for the former 36th overall pick but have been on hold in the past 24 hours.

He also said the Knicks risked losing him for nothing by not trading him.

Now he says the Bulls remain interested and could be the “main contenders” to poach Robinson this offseason if the Knicks are unable to re-sign him by June 30.

This isn’t just about the Bulls, or even the Detroit Pistons, who Berman said probably won’t be chasing Robinson either after the NBA Draft Lottery this summer. The Dallas Mavericks are said to be interested in a center like Robinson this offseason.

Those are at least two of the teams associated with Robinson. But there are still teams like the Charlotte Hornets that also need a strong presence in color.

Robinson averaged 8.5 points and 8.6 rebounds with 1.8 blocks in 62 starts in 72 appearances last season. While not career highs, the numbers represent a recovery from the previous campaign.

In his best pro season, the former Western Kentucky hilltopper averaged 9.7 points with 7.0 boards and 2.0 blocks.

His career high for blocks in a season is 2.4 per contest.

An estimated market value of $11 million per Berman would put him close to Dwight Powell and Richaun Holmes of the Dallas Sacramento Kings. The latter has been linked to the bulls in trade rumours.

That’s also a far cry from the four-year, $55-max contract that would be required to keep Robinson out of free agency, or the $10.3 million mid-level exemption that will be available to the Bulls .

Berman reports that the Knicks are unsure about signing Robinson a second contract.

Robinson posted the second-worst defensive rating (112.6) of his career, according to Cleaning the Glass. But he also posted the best offensive rating of his four years in the NBA while playing in his most games to date.

Berman’s choice of words is interesting here. To say the Bulls are intrigued by Robinson’s potential fit “alongside” Vucevic could very well be nothing. Or it could indicate that the Bulls are looking to lean into a double-sized lineup that has Vucevic playing power forward.

Vucevic has very limited experience at the four spots – just 3% in his career, according to the basketball reference – while Robinson has none.

The Bulls experimented with similar looks last season, playing alongside Vucevic against Tristan Thompson after the All-Star break. Things weren’t going well for these groupings, which according to Cleaning the Glass posted a net rating of minus 35.1 across 55 holdings.

Thompson’s offensive rating (119.9) was better than Robinson’s. But he returned almost everything at the other end with a defensive rating of 118.4.

Maybe Robinson can build on what Thompson showed in the more favorable situation with the Bulls. The fit next to Vucevic would be interesting. Robinson also doesn’t fit the shape of the centers we’ve seen on the last four teams of these playoffs.

Robinson posted the second-worst defensive rating (112.6) of his career, according to Cleaning the Glass. But he also posted the best offensive rating of his four years in the NBA while playing in his most games to date.

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