What’s next for the Bulls after unpredictable 2022 NBA Draft?

Chicago Bulls, 2023 NBA Draft (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls, 2023 NBA Draft (Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) /

While many fans expected the Chicago Bulls to select a big or defensive wing with the 18th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, the pick would instead be used on Dalen Terry, a guard out of Arizona. This year’s draft was meant to answer some of the biggest questions we’ve had about the front office’s vision for next season’s roster, but instead just left us asking even more.

As we enter free agency in July, the Bulls have 9 players currently contracted through next season, including the recently drafted Dalen Terry. Tony Bradley has until June 29 to decide whether or not he wants to exercise his player option, which would make him the 10th member of next season’s roster should he choose to opt-in.

Chicago also recently signed undrafted rookie Justin Lewis, however, he will join the team on a two-way contract and thus won’t occupy an official roster spot.

Sticking to their cards at the 2022 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls will look forward to free agency and the trade market to continue improving.

First and foremost, the Bulls’ primary goal in free agency will be to re-sign Zach LaVine to a 5-year extension. Whether or not he will receive the full max remains to be seen, but recent reports indicate that both parties intend to reunite.

The clear next step for Chicago will be to find depth at power forward and center, hopefully adding some much-needed rim protection to a team that allowed the 8th most points in the paint last season. Bulls general manager Marc Eversley clearly addressed this issue in his post-draft presser and placed it at the top of their priority list this summer, proving they know where this team’s biggest weakness lies and also hinting that Nikola Vucevic will return as the starting center next season.

Chicago will have several quality options to consider in free agency this year, including but not limited to Mitchell Robinson, Mo Bamba, Isaiah Hartenstein, JaVale McGee, Jalen Smith, and Bismack Biyombo.

The next order of business will be to address the logjam in the guard rotation. By drafting Dalen Terry, the Bulls piled on another promising guard onto a rotation that already features LaVine, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Coby White, and Ayo Dosunmu. The Bulls are also rumored to have shown interest in the Clipper’s guard Luke Kennard, in an attempt to improve the bench’s poor 3-point shooting.

For this reason, I believe a trade to clear things up is likely on the horizon. Coby, in particular, is at risk of being traded away as he enters a contract year and will be looking to get paid.

Fortunately, a trade may not be absolutely necessary, as there’s hope in the front office that Terry will have the flexibility to be a playmaking wing as opposed to a jumbo guard. If the rookie is up to the task, this would significantly help smooth things over and put the Bulls in a better situation where they’re not forced to make a trade unless they want to.

Fortunately, we won’t have to wait long to see if Terry has what it takes to fill that role. He’s set to join fellow rookie Justin Lewis as well as current Bulls Ayo Dosunmu and Marko Simonivic in the 2022 NBA Summer League. The Chicago Bulls have a slate of four games on their schedule early next month, which should give the young guns ample opportunity to prove they’ve got what it takes to earn a spot in the rotation.

The Bulls have also added Carlik Jones, Akoldah Gak, Henri Drell, and Javon Freeman-Liberty to the Summer League roster, all of whom will be competing for a chance at one of Chicago’s five open roster spots.

Next. How to watch the Bulls in the 2022 Summer League. dark