Chicago Bulls: Is the roster all but set heading into next season?

Adam Mokoka, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Adam Mokoka, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

It appears that the roster could be all but formed for the Chicago Bulls after just a few days of free agency negotiations around the NBA.

This cycle of free agency was rather uneventful thus far for the Chicago Bulls. Less than two weeks removed from the start of Training Camp ahead of the 2020-21 season, the Bulls didn’t make any huge moves on the trade or free agent market so far. Newly hired executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley kept a rather quiet profile so far this offseason.

The most significant move the Bulls made so far was the selection of the former Florida State Seminoles freshman forward Patrick Williams fourth overall in the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery. The Bulls also selected the KK Mega Bemax big man Marko Simonovic 44th overall in the second round of the 2020 draft.

Even in the undrafted free agent market, Karnisovas and the Bulls found a real gem in the former Kansas Jayhawks sophomore star point guard Devon Dotson. In the hours following the conclusion of the NBA Draft, the Bulls made a quick move to scoop up one of the best undrafted free agents remaining in Dotson.

And really the lone free agent signing for the Bulls over the weekend came in the form of the former Brooklyn Nets veteran 34-year-old shooting guard Garrett Temple. The Bulls signed Temple out of free agency on a one-year contract worth $5 million.

Two other key moves that the Bulls made among their four impending free agent guards were handing out offers to the likes of French shooting guard/wing Adam Mokoka and fifth-year former Michigan State Spartans shooting guard Denzel Valentine. The Bulls wound up letting point guard Kris Dunn and combo guard Shaquille Harrison walk in free agency this offseason.

All of these moves, or the lack thereof since the start of this cycle of free agency, aren’t likely to amount to much of a change to the starting five. Most of the tangible changes made within the Bulls organization this offseason happened in the front office and coaching staff. We’ll see the difference that the Bulls have starting next season with the new front office regime of Karnisovas and Eversley and the effect of the hire of former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan.

The Bulls parted ways with now former head coach Jim Boylen back on Aug. 14, and subsequently hired Donovan on Sep. 22. They also brought on Karnisovas and Eversley to replace former VP of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman.

A report from K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago on Nov. 21 detailed how the Karnisovas philosophy is beginning to take shape in the formation of the roster for next season. He did mention that the Bulls are likely close to finished piecing together their roster this offseason.

Moreover, there could still be some additions to the roster ahead of Training Camp. But the likely scenario is the roster is mostly set, and the two-way contract slots will be occupied by Dotson and Mokoka. Having Dotson and Mokoka in the mix could actually be a pretty good situation for the Bulls two-way contracts.

Unless the Bulls make a big splash trade in the next week or so, there’s not a whole lot of space remaining on the cap sheet. The veteran small forward Otto Porter Jr. picking up his player option for the 2020-21 season (worth around $29 million) ate up a lot of the room that would be on the cap sheet otherwise.

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The Bulls finished up the 2019-20 shortened regular season with a record of 22-43, good for 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings. The start of the 2020-21 regular season around the NBA is set for Dec. 22, but it’s unclear if that’s when the Bulls will tip-off their slate.