Bulls mailbag: White a long-term fit? Free agency plan? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Surprisingly, nobody asked if the LaVine-Vučević, pick-and-roll is the league’s deadliest since Stockton and Malone... On to the real questions.
What is Coby White’s future with this team? --- @Coby4MVP, via Twitter
Management traded away several young pieces at the trade deadline and White’s name never surfaced in any conversations I heard. So it seems solid. He’s on a rookie deal, consistently draws praise for his work ethic and team-first mentality and has shown the ability to put up big offensive nights. What’s not to like?
Questions about whether he can be a starter or part of a three-guard rotation don’t need to be answered until you’re getting into rookie contract extension time. That’s not this offseason.
Which current Bulls will still be on the roster in two years? --- Gabe K.
My guess: Zach LaVine, Nikola Vučević, Patrick Williams, Coby White and, going out on a limb, Daniel Theis. The first three should be self-explanatory. Reasoning for White is detailed in the first answer. And I just think Theis represents the versatile, tough-minded player that management favors. Plus, he can shoot.
Throw in whatever additions are coming this offseason, the 2022 first-round pick (assuming this year’s selection conveys to the Magic) and Marko Simonović and you can see a roster forming.
Are there any free agents that you in particular would like to see the Bulls go after or a position you think they should address? With the moves we’ve made this year, starting with drafting Patrick Williams, I like the style of players that Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley seem to want to bring in here. In my opinion, I hope the Bulls go after a solid wing contributor, a small forward type, and a guy like Lonzo Ball or Mike Conley. --- Jordan G.
I don’t really care who the Bulls go after; that’s not my job. I will be writing about whomever they acquire. I will say as far as positional need that I’ve been writing about point guard since last summer. That stands.
I fully expect the Bulls-Ball chatter to pick up again this offseason. I’d certainly perform due diligence on Conley, who, like Goran Dragić (whose contract carries a team option for 2021-22), might be too expensive or too hard to pry from their current situations. Dennis Schröder and Spencer Dinwiddie are other intriguing possibilities.
How much salary-cap space the Bulls will have is contingent on several decisions.
What's your "way too early" estimate on what the front office will do in the offseason? Will they sign Lonzo and call it a day? Or do you think they have a master plan involving several different sign-and-trades? --- Jackson T.
You’re asking me to predict what a management team will do after I said I didn’t see them sacrificing first-round draft capital? But I digress.
I think they will let Lauri Markkanen work the restricted free agent market and try to engineer a sign-and-trade if the offer is too rich for their blood. Which I also predict it will be. I think they make a run at Ball and if that doesn’t work out, sign a different point guard. I think they bring back both Satoranský and Thad Young. And they address defensive-minded wing depth with whatever free-agent money they have left, which won’t be much if Young and Satoranský return.
But I always say: I’m a beat writer, not a general manager.
I like what I see from the LaVine/Vučević duo. I was wondering what free agents and/or trade targets you could see the Bulls chase after this summer to complement these two and provide some needed defense around them? --- Tyler L.
Ah, yes, defense. If the Bulls bring back Satoranský and Young, they’re not looking at much cap space. In an earlier answer, I also speculate that Theis is a fit. So they probably won’t be shopping in the expensive aisle, which is why I said earlier that someone like Conley is probably too rich for their blood.
The Markkanen situation will be intriguing. His cap hold is just over $20 million. The Bulls also could use cap space to renegotiate LaVine’s contract this summer as opposed to letting him get to unrestricted free agency in 2022. That would eat into cap space, as would Al Farouq-Aminu opting to pick up his roughly $10 million player option.
Without knowing their cap situation, it’s hard to peg players to sign. Josh Richardson or Josh Hart might fit if the money works. Troy Brown Jr. certainly fits the mold of an athletic wing defender, and he’s under contract for next season.
Do you think that if the Bulls don't have a significant improvement after next free agency plus lose their draft pick, the Vucevic trade was more of a loss than a win? I mean, they will be better than with Wendell Carter Jr., but if you consider the high draft pick as well as the locked cap I'd have to start doubting. --- Alexandar K.
By making the trade, management picked a direction and decided to build around two All-Stars in Vučević and LaVine. It also displayed confidence in Patrick Williams and a belief in the ability to fill out the roster and make further changes. This is why it’s a win regardless to me. Karnišovas and Eversley, who actually come from organizations with solid track records in drafting, opted to give up two first-round picks to take this direction.
Why is Cristiano Felicio still on the team? --- Michael S.
He’s under contract. His expiring deal didn’t find its way into larger trades at the deadline. A better question might be: Will Felício be in the league next season?
I will say nobody ever should be mad at players for their contracts. Somebody offered that deal you hate to them. Also, for whatever it’s worth, Felício has been nothing but respectful and pleasant to deal with in the times I’ve talked to him. And he actually showed promise down the stretch of the 2016-17 season that led to his deal. I mean, he was drawing regular rotational minutes in that playoff series against the Celtics. He can thank Rajon Rondo some for his deal.
Thanks for all your questions. Talk to you soon.