Friday, May 6, 2022

Bulls urged to part ways with two-time All-Star

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The Chicago Bulls have officially entered the 2022 NBA offseason after losing game five to the Milwaukee Bucks 116-100 on Wednesday night. While the season ended in disappointment, this season has been largely a success for the Bulls as they increased their win to 46 after winning just 31 games last season.

The Bulls’ success this season has been largely inspired by their busy 2021 offseason. The team added DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso, which made a big impact.

While this season has been considered an organizational success, this offseason will be just as important for the Bulls if they are to take the next step toward championship contenders.

The first big decision the Bulls will have to make this summer involves Zach LaVine’s contract. LaVine is an unrestricted free agent and is eligible for a $212 million contract for a maximum of five years.

The Bulls have said they want to keep LaVine, but how long they’re willing to put him on a deal could be determined by the condition of his injured knee. LaVine will have surgery this offseason and it’s unclear when he can return.

LaVine isn’t the only player the Bulls have to make a decision about this summer. Chicago has struggled with central defense this season and for that reason Nikola Vucevic has been a popular name in trade talks.

In a new Bleacher Reports article, Zach Buckley names a starter every NBA team could replace this summer. According to Buckley, that starter for the Bulls is Vucevic.

Vucevic has a $22 million year left on his current contract with the team before becoming a full free agent next year. Ultimately, whether the bulls trade Vucevic or not will likely depend on what they might get in return.

If the Bulls could get an elite rim guard like Rudy Gobert in return, they’d have to at least reconsider. What could also determine such a deal are the other parts involved.

For the Bulls, LaVine’s decision will be the first domino dictating the team’s other decisions. If the Bulls re-sign LaVine, Chicago could potentially trade Vucevic for a rim protector.

However, if the Bulls cannot keep LaVine, the Bulls may decide to use the cap space to add a rim protector. That would also put the Bulls in an interesting place with Vucevic as they could look to extend his contract or trade him anyway.

The Bulls have a lot of big decisions ahead of them this summer. Ultimately, only time will tell what the team decides to do.

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