Bulls staying quiet this summer


By Sharjeel Siddiqui

The Chicago Bulls chose a new direction when they traded guard Jimmy Butler on draft day June 22, a direction focused on youth and development and a full rebuild. With this new found direction comes something all fans hate, the waiting game, and that’s exactly what the Bulls are playing this summer.

The offseason is normally the best time for teams to go out and improve the roster with proven players that have showcased their skills in the NBA for some time, a chance to acquire a star, some smart veterans or players with potential. The Bulls on the other hand have done none of the above, leaving fans on edge.

The team did resign 24-year-old center Cristiano Felicio to a four-year, $32 million contract and brought back 28-year-old forward Justin Holiday on a two-year, $9 million deal, according to a July 2 Bleacher Report.

The Bulls have also been reportedly working on a deal to bring back 26-year-old forward Nikola Mirotic. General Manager Gar Forman said bringing back Mirotic is the team’s number one priority, according to a June 30 report from the Athletic.

Here’s the problem — Mirotic and the Bulls have yet to come to terms on a deal, according to ESPN Bulls insider Nick Friedell.

Friedell spoke about the situation on Sportstalk Live June 6 and said the team is open to Mirotic looking for more money elsewhere, according to a June 7 Bleacher Report.

“The Bulls have basically told [Mirotic], ‘if you want to get paid big money, find it somewhere else and sign an offer sheet’” said Friedell, according to Bleacher Report.

It may be in the Bulls’ best interest to make more of an effort in going after young players who have some upside, such as Golden State Warriors guard Ian Clark, who is an unrestricted free agent.

Veteran guard Rajon Rondo was cut by the Bulls as his team option was not picked up, ending a dramatic one-year tenure with the team. Rondo has agreed to a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to ESPN. Rondo will likely serve as a backup to guard Jrue Holiday.

That leaves guard Dwyane Wade and center Robin Lopez as the only real veterans left on the roster with winning experience.

It will be interesting to see if the Bulls decide to make a move with the 34-year-old Wade, who opted into his $23.8 million player option for this upcoming season, according to a June 20 Bleacher Report , before Butler was traded.

If the Bulls wanted to get Wade’s debatable contract off the books next season, they would have to find a team willing to pay an almost 36-year-old player with bad knees that much money. The Bulls could also buy out Wade, but they don’t seem interested thus far.

With all the money being handed out in today’s league, such as Houston Rockets guard James Harden’s 4-year, $228 million dollar extension, Wade could be surprised at the amount of money he can earn.

Bulls management said talks of a Wade buyout would have to be ‘advantageous’ for the Bulls to start having buyout conversations, according to a June 22 Bleacher Report.

The team needs to stay young and grow up together and it doesn’t seem like it’s a good fit anymore for Wade or the Bulls.

With summer league in full swing, the Bulls announced their young summer league roster with three returning players in guard Denzel Valentine, forward Paul Zipser and guard Cameron Payne, who joins newly-acquired guard Kris Dunn and rookie center Lauri Markkanen.

Summer league play has become more important for the Bulls then it has been in previous years. The roster of young players taking the floor in the Las Vegas summer league will be similar to the Bulls’ opening day roster.

So as frustrating as it is, so far the Bulls have stayed true to their new direction, appearing to be focused on developing the young players they already have without looking to acquire players.

The waiting game isn’t one that brings the fans in, and it definitely won’t make for the best basketball. It will take a while, but the Bulls are finally in a full rebuild mode and will try get younger and better to compete with the best teams in the league in the future.

This is the method for getting better, and it begins now for the Chicago Bulls.