What would a perfect offseason look like for the Bulls?

Marc Eversley, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Marc Eversley, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Now that the 2022 NBA Draft has come and passed, the Chicago Bulls are already well on their way toward enacting their vision for the team moving forward. Dalen Terry has the makings of a very solid player and is someone fans can get excited about as he suits up for the Bulls.

But drafting Terry was just the start of things. With free agency set to kick off on Thursday and the trade market floodgates bound to open once again, this offseason is bound to involve a flurry of drama and blockbuster moves.

However, I believe if the Bulls play their cards right, they’ll be able to keep their heads above water and continue wading toward a playoff push.

In order to continue moving up the Eastern Conference totem pole, the Chicago Bulls must perfectly execute their offseason strategy this summer.

Step 1: Draft an immediate contributor

This is the first and only step on the list the Bulls have already successfully completed, with their decision to select Dalen Terry 18th overall in the 2022 NBA Draft. Terry has a well-rounded and unselfish skillset that makes him an easy plug-and-play option for the Bulls right away. His size and versatility should also allow Dalen to log minutes as a guard as well as a small forward. If Chicago runs into injury issues once again this season, he’ll be able to slide into a variety of roles without missing a beat.

Step 2: Re-sign Zach LaVine

Chicago’s ability to successfully complete this step will ultimately decide whether or not this offseason was a success. The sooner Zach LaVine is locked up on a five-year deal, the sooner the front office can proceed to add complementary pieces for another playoff push. Fortunately, it seems this goal is already well underway towards being completed.

Step 3: Sign a rim protector

Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley have both gone on record this summer to state that finding a rim protector to address the Bulls’ weak interior defense is a priority. The draft would not yield any easy solutions to this problem, but hope remains the Bulls can find a solid backup center behind Nikola Vucevic. Fortunately, they should have several quality options at their disposal in free agency. Since this is the ‘perfect’ offseason plan, ideally the Bulls could attract Isaiah Hartenstein with their MLE.

After the Clippers dedicated the use of their MLE to sign the recently bought out John Wall, this scenario has become far more realistic overnight.

Step 4: Utilize the trade exception

Acquired last year in the trade that sent Daniel Theis, the Bulls received a $5 million trade exception. After the Bulls use up their MLE, the trade exception is the team’s only route towards adding a player for more than the veteran’s minimum. This exception expires on July 9, so it’s in Chicago’s best interest to make use of it as soon as possible. Ideally, this could be used up to pick up a solid sharpshooter off the bench.

Step 5: Fill out the roster

Now that the Bulls have directly made moves to address their lack of wing depth, interior defense, and 3-point shooting, picking up proven talents on minimum contracts has to be the move here. A veteran guard to mentor the young backcourt rotation, a defensive specialist on the wing, and a stretch big are the archetypes the Bulls should be targeting here. Now that the Bulls have the makings of a genuine free agent destination, Chicago should have plenty of options at their disposal here.

Step 6: Run it back

Even after losing in just 5 games in the first round of the playoffs, it might seem strange to recommend the Chicago Bulls run things back with the same starting five and sixth man. However, the Bulls we saw at the end of last season were worn down and depleted by a season full of injuries and illness. The team adopted an isolation-heavy playstyle to compensate in the regular season, but it would not hold up in postseason play.

By addressing this team’s biggest weaknesses in the offseason and spending a summer getting healthy, the Bulls should make their first consecutive playoff appearance since 2015. If Chicago implements these changes, I think these Bulls will end up looking far more similar to the team that was the top seed in the Eastern Conference on New Year’s Day, rather than the Bulls we all saw in the playoffs.

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