5 Chicago Bulls players on the hot seat entering 2022-23 season

Nikola Vucevic, Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
Nikola Vucevic, Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images) /

Entering the 2022 offseason, the Chicago Bulls‘ prime objective was crystal clear: re-sign Zach LaVine. There were moves to be made on the margin of course, but ensuring that LaVine remained in Chicago was clearly the most important mission for the front office this summer.

Looking ahead, however, next year’s offseason doesn’t look quite as clear. Only six players on this year’s payroll are guaranteed to be returning after the conclusion of the 2022-23 season. If your name is not LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Patrick Williams, or Dalen Terry, the future currently holds an unknown number of possibilities for you.

For the rest of the roster, this season will be the year they look to not only prove they belong in this league, but also prove that the Chicago Bulls are a real threat and here to stay.

These 5 players will need to have a successful 2022-23 season with the Chicago Bulls if they wish to maintain their place in the league.

1. Nikola Vucevic

Given the haul they gave up to acquire him, Nikola Vucevic has been on the hot seat from day one with the Chicago Bulls and will continue to be until his play proportionately matches the cost it took to get him on the team in the first place. Vucevic won’t be out there playing harder to prove he was worth that trade package, however, instead he should be trying to elevate his game to secure another big payday. With his reputation taking a big hit over the last year, a bounceback season from Vucevic could not only help fatten his wallet, but also help propel the Chicago Bulls to a postseason run.

2. Javonte Green

As little more than a throw-in piece in the three-team trade that brought Troy Brown Jr. and Daniel Theis to Chicago in exchange for Daniel Gafford and Chandler Hutchison, it’s hard not to be pleased with just how good Javonte Green has become in a small amount of time. Javonte is a player the Bulls would probably like to keep around, but as his contract is set to expire he’ll be at the forefront of a tough decision next summer. Add in the fact that he’s now 29 years old with Derrick Jones Jr. and Dalen Terry each vying for Green’s playing time, he’ll have to step things up once again to ensure his place in Chicago.

3. Marko Simonovic

Marko Simonovic is technically already signed with the Bulls through the 2023-24 season, but given that the final year of his contract can be voided with no guaranteed money, he’ll have to enter this season with the mindset of a free agent. Simonovic’s Summer League success was a strong start, but he still has a long way to go to prove he can be a solid rotation player in the NBA.

4. Ayo Dosunmu

While no one would bring his talent or future potential into question, Ayo Dosunmu finds himself on the hot seat for entirely different reasons. As a second-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Ayo would only ink a two-year deal with the Bulls that would allow him to enter free agency in 2023. Since the Bulls expended their full MLE on Caruso — a wise decision — they were not able to tack on an extra two years to Ayo’s rookie deal.

Unfortunately for Chicago, Dosunmu won’t have the required three years of service with the team to keep his Bird Rights. This means the Bulls will likely find themselves in a bind if Ayo plays very well this upcoming season. Chicago will have to use their MLE to retain Dosunmu, but if another team comes along and is willing to pay more than the MLE, the Bulls will find themselves in a very tricky situation.

5. Coby White

Coby White is without a doubt the biggest question mark surrounding this team entering the season. Despite playing fairly well in his three seasons in Chicago, no player on the Bulls has had to endure as many comments from disgruntled fans or had his name in as many trade rumors as Coby. He’s taken all this in stride by working on his game with DeRozan and publically supporting the Bulls at Summer League, sporting his enormous smile throughout the whole process.

Entering a contract year, it’s now up to White to take his fate into his own hands and play himself into that next contract. Whether the Bulls will be the team that offers it, however, remains to be seen.

Next. How the Bulls should use Coby White next season. dark