Grade: Bulls find their free agency rebound in Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Andre Drummond, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

They sure took their time doing it, but the Chicago Bulls have officially made their first free agent acquisition of the offseason by picking up the four-time rebounding champ himself, Andre Drummond. As the final signing of the night, Drummond closes out a very chaotic first day of free agency and is hopefully just the first of several moves made by the Bulls.

Inking a two-year deal, Drummond looks to continue his redemption tour in Chicago on a very high-value deal. He will immediately slide in as the backup to Nikola Vucevic and should have a relatively sizeable role off the bench similar to the one he had in Philadelphia.

Best of all, his deal allows the Bulls to continue pursuing other free agents with the remainder of the MLE. Finding a frontcourt partner for Drummond off the bench will likely be of high priority, as the departure of Derrick Jones Jr. has left a hole in the rotation.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report Drummond’s official contract details.

While overlooked by most free agency predictions, Andre Drummond may end up being a very solid addition for the Chicago Bulls.

Considering the minimum for an experienced veteran like Drummond projects to be around $2.9 million next season, this contract ends up being surprisingly high value here for the Bulls. While Drummond was on a minimum contract last season, most saw it as a way to rebuild his value and expected the big man to earn upwards of $5 million annually after a very solid season spent in both Philadelphia and Brooklyn.

As usual, Drummond was a per-minute production monster last season, posting averages of 7.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 2 combined steals and blocks in less than 20 minutes played per game. Considering the Bulls ranked as the second-worst rebounding team in the NBA last season, Drummond should hopefully immediately revitalize Chicago’s efforts on the glass.

In a vacuum, it’s hard to be mad about this move. Drummond will almost certainly outplay his contract and play a valuable role for Chicago. At the time, however, it’s difficult to ignore that several better options were signed to reasonable deals.

If the goal was to utilize the MLE to sign two productive bench players and remain beneath the luxury tax threshold, Chicago has done an incredible job. But if the goal was to build the best basketball team possible — as it should be — then the Bulls failed by prioritizing profit over team success. Players like Isaiah Hartenstein, Nic Claxton, and Mo Bamba went at or below the MLE, but Chicago ultimately wasn’t willing to pay up to secure their talent.

Let’s make one thing clear, Drummond is a huge upgrade over Tristan Thompson. This is something to get excited about. But there are still serious concerns regarding Drummond’s effectiveness in the postseason, as well as the fact he’s never going to be the vaunted “rim protector” the front office was searching for.

Who the Bulls decide to use the rest of the MLE on will likely affect just how good of a signing this was. If Chicago finds the right fit next to Drummond, I wouldn’t be surprised if he even ends up outplaying the aforementioned list of free agents we missed out on. But until then, I am tentatively on the fence about this signing.

Grade: C+

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