Although the bench looks better than ever, there’s no reason for the Chicago Bulls to stop trying to improve as we progress deeper into the regular season. Injuries, cold streaks, and tweaked lineups are all but inevitable these days, so being as prepared as possible for the NBA’s 82-game gauntlet is critically important.
Due to their savvy financial decisions over the summer, the Bulls still retain the right to sign a player to a veteran’s minimum, without going over the luxury tax threshold. This means that if Chicago cuts a player to open up a roster spot, they could still find an adequate replacement in free agency without major financial repercussions.
It’s clear that the Bulls would need to waive one of Tony Bradley or Marko Simonovic, but I don’t think fans would lose too much sleep about either player being dismissed from the team. Bradley is the better player right now, but is suspect even as a backup big, while Simonovic is going back in forth in stints with Chicago’s G League affiliate. Whether or not he can ever become a true rotation player in the NBA remains to be seen.
If the Bulls did execute this bold plan of action, there are still several interesting options available in free agency, with more to come once the buyout market kicks into full swing. Here are the top potential free agents Chicago could still acquire while remaining beneath the luxury tax threshold.
Several interesting options remain for the Chicago Bulls to pursue in free agency.
5. Nemanja Bjelica
As far as 3-point specialists go, Nemanja Bjelica is one of the most interesting options remaining on the market. A career 38.4% shooter from beyond the arc, Bjelica would immediately be a top-three shooting threat on this Bulls roster while Lonzo Ball remains sidelined.
After making moves to acquire Nikola Vucevic, Goran Dragic, and Kostas Antetokounmpo, the Chicago Bulls clearly aren’t afraid to make good use of the European connection. Considering this team still ranks 28th in 3-point attempts per game, acquiring some extra shooting for specific situations off the bench — a la Matt Thomas last season — could be wise.
This much is especially true when the future of Coby White remains up in the air. As the Bulls’ best shooter off the bench, Chicago could find themselves in deep water if they deal Coby at the deadline without receiving some shooting in return. Adding Bjelica to the end of the bench is a zero-risk move that could help alleviate some of the issues caused by this hypothetical scenario.