3. Has this restricted free agent class earned their way back?
Technically, there could be six players that remain on the Bulls active roster that could be headed for free agency this coming offseason. But the Bulls very likely aren’t going to let all six of them go. And one of those six players have a looming player option that they could pick up, and very likely will.
That one Bulls player that could pick up his option is OPJ. Considering his player option for next year will be worth closer to $28 million, there’s little to no chance that he will opt out. That is unless there’s a team willing to pay him a lot of money and get him closer to title contention elsewhere.
OPJ got paid a lot of money this season to spend most of the year injured. He’s only played in 14 games so far this season, prior to the NBA hiatus.
However, the Bulls also have five other players that have stories worth following heading into the next offseason cycle of free agency. All five of those Bulls players are set to be restricted free agents, so John Paxson and Gar Forman control their destiny. Those five players include point guard Kris Dunn, combo guard Shaquille Harrison, shooting guard Denzel Valentine, and two-way shooting guards/wings Adam Mokoka and Max Strus.
There’s a clear argument as to why Dunn and Harrison have earned their way back onto the roster. Those are likely the two best defensive guards that the Bulls have on the roster. And they both upped other parts of their games in various ways this season. Valentine and Mokoka showed flashes at times, but both are likely headed for free agency. Strus missed the latter portion of the G-League season, but he might get a two-way contract elsewhere.