3 best value contracts on the Chicago Bulls entering 2022-23

Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

If there’s one thing I truly appreciate about the reign of Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley so far, it’s the fact that the Chicago Bulls have not once been burdened by cumbersome contracts that limit the team’s long-term flexibility and put a damper on fans’ expectations before the season even begins.

I’d even go as far as to say there are no true bad contracts on the Chicago Bulls’ payroll right now, provided of course Zach LaVine can remain healthy and maintain his current career trajectory after signing a five-year maximum extension to stay in Chicago.

This is a far cry from the days when the Bulls used to cough up hefty player-friendly contracts to players who weren’t truly invested in the team like Dwyane Wade and Jabari Parker, or those who just couldn’t possibly perform at a level that would match their salaries such as Carlos Boozer or Cristiano Felicio.

Among all the great signings the new front office has inked, I believe these three stand tall above the rest as excellent decisions that will help the Bulls return to the forefront of the Eastern Conference conversation sooner rather than later.

Although they’re middle of the pack in team payroll, the Chicago Bulls have remained contenders thanks to these high-value contracts.

1. DeMar DeRozan

  • 2022-23 Salary: $27,300,000
  • Total Remaining Contract: Two years, $55.9 million

Among the 15 players selected to an All-NBA Team last season, only Ja Morant will be making less money next season than Bulls’ forward DeMar DeRozan. Both Morant and DeRozan were named to the Second Team, but Ja will only be earning less simply because he’s in the last year of his rookie contract before his max contract extension kicks in.

The point here is simple, DeRozan is by definition the cheapest top 15 talent in the league right now.  Of course, the return of players like Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis might mean making another All-NBA team will be a taller task, but the fact remains that the Bulls are extracting great value from DeRozan on this current contract.

Best of all, Chicago isn’t locked into paying DeMar big bucks while he’s on the decline, as his contract is set to expire before he turns 35 years old. DeRozan’s value as a player already exceeds his pay scale, but the additional aspect of him being an excellent mentor makes him one of the best value contracts in the NBA right now.

2. Ayo Dosunmu

  • 2022-23 Salary: $1,563,518
  • Total Remaining Contract: One year, $1.56 million

Currently tied with Marko Simonovic for the lowest salary on the active full-time roster, Ayo Dosunmu‘s performance and value of production far outpace what he’s actually being paid.  Contracts like this can elevate good teams to contender status, as we’ve seen several teams lately take advantage of the structure of rookie scale contracts to make deep playoff pushes.

Fortunately for Dosunmu, he’ll be able to hit free agency and let the open market decide his worth this summer after inking just a two-year rookie deal. This is a scary situation for the Bulls, who will have to cough up the money and most likely dip into the luxury tax for just the third time in franchise history. If management does not wish to pay a premium here, the Bulls could lose Ayo for nothing if he has another standout sophomore season.

3. Alex Caruso

  • 2022-23 Salary: $9,030,000
  • Total Remaining Contract: Three years, $23.38 million

When the Lakers refused to give Alex Caruso the payday he deserved, it was largely in an effort to avoid dolling out a massive amount in luxury tax penalties. Of course, trading for Russell Westbrook was a self-inflicted wound that could have been avoided, but the Bulls happily benefitted from Los Angeles’ crucial mistake.

Ironically, Caruso seems to still be earning less than his true value on the court after signing a four-year MLE with Chicago. Caruso truly turned the corner and proved his worth with the Bulls last season, proving he’s a genuinely great piece off the bench with a high basketball IQ and the fundamentals to improve his teammates around him.

Chicago now has Caruso locked in at less than $10 million for the next three years, a deal any team would be happy to pay for a player with All-Defensive Team potential and who appears to be one of the best bench leaders in the league. If Caruso was a free agent this summer, he would have undoubtedly received an even bigger offer — especially after guards like Lu Dort and Tyus Jones signed offers for $16.5 million and $14.5 million annually, respectively.

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Thanks to the high value of these three players’ contracts, the Chicago Bulls will be able to field a very well-rounded team loaded with talent that’s capable of making some real noise once again in the upcoming 2022-23 season.