Chicago Bulls: Impact Kevin Durant-Warriors separation brings

(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images) /

It looks like the Golden State Warriors will not be able to get Kevin Durant back into town. What’s the impact on the Chicago Bulls?

As bystanders to the situation with superstar forward Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors entering this free agency cycle, the Chicago Bulls don’t have much they can do to lure him into the Windy City. The Bulls aren’t even considered a relevant suitor at any point during the free agency pursuit of KD that seemingly started last summer.

On June 26, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski had sources confirm that KD planned to decline his $31.5 million player option with the Warriors after rupturing his Achilles in the NBA Finals this year.

Even an injured KD has the level of talent and star power required to alter the entire free agency landscape depending on where he signs. In all likelihood, former Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving will have some type of say in where Durant will land this summer.

The latest free agency odds from Sporting News for the top stars in this cycle has both KD and Kyrie as favorites to land with the Brooklyn Nets. Those Sporting News odds also shows that Kawhi Leonard is expected to land back with the Toronto Raptors, but could wind up with the Los Angeles Clippers.

A big impact that this KD news to opt into free agency covers not just the Bulls, but all the traditional big market in the NBA teams in general. The Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks were figured to be players for at least a handful of the starts hitting the free agent market this summer, but could be without any when it’s all said and done for this coming season.

The Bulls also just don’t have the money to pursue any of them. It makes more sense for John Paxson and Gar Forman to continue to build this young roster and amass assets to try and appeal to bringing in a superstar either next summer or in 2021.

At some point soon, the Bulls could also see a number of its young pieces develop into starts. Although that’s far from a guarantee. The most likely stars on the roster now would be power forward Lauri Markkanen, center Wendell Carter Jr., shooting guard Zach LaVine, or rookie first round 2019 draft pick point guard Coby White.

Whenever KD does come back with the Nets, or whoever he lands with this summer, will bring a dramatic shift in the balance of power in the NBA. KD has that type of impact wherever he lands. If it’s with the Nets, his return to NBA action in a year-and-a-half or so could seriously shift the balance of power to them in the Eastern Conference.

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When KD returns could also be when GarPax finally gets the Bulls back on track. It’s hard to say when that would be, or if it would be under the current regime of head coach Jim Boylen. But KD’s free agency landing spot clearly would have a big impact on the Bulls and all other young rising cores in the East if he lands in Brooklyn.