Now 21 games into the season, we’re finally afforded the luxury of hindsight when it comes to evaluating the decisions made by the Chicago Bulls in last summer’s free agency. All too often, free agents pan out in unexpected ways for the Bulls, which is why the team may look to shake the roster up once the December 15 deadline passes and all recently-acquired free agents around the league become tradeable.
For Chicago, this group of players comprises three of the four main roster signings the Bulls made over the summer, with Zach LaVine’s record-breaking extension being the obvious fourth move made by the front office. In LaVine’s case, however, he can’t be involved in any trade until January 15, when all players who re-signed using Bird Rights over the summer can be traded from their respective teams.
Goran Dragic headlines a list of three recently-signed Chicago Bulls who will once again be eligible to be traded away as soon as December 15.
1. Goran Dragic
Amidst the several players on the Bulls currently experiencing a slump, perhaps no player on the roster has done as much to rebuild his value this season as much as Goran Dragic. After suffering career-worst shooting splits for Toronto and Brooklyn last year, Dragic has been a surprising revelation for Chicago.
The veteran is currently averaging 8.4 points and 3.3 assists in just 17.9 minutes per game. His three-point shooting in particular has been a massive surprise, as he’s knocked down a career-best 42.4% from beyond the arc in 21 games this year. However, those stats may be a bit frontloaded, as he shot 52.6% from deep in his first 11 games, but has crashed back down to Earth with a 23.8% mark over his last 10.
Dragic makes a lot of sense as a sell-high candidate if Lonzo Ball finally starts showing a little progress in his recovery; otherwise, the Bulls will likely be forced to hold Dragic until the end of the season.
2. Andre Drummond
One of the areas the Bulls have most clearly improved from last year to this season is their depth at the center slot. After being a bottom-ranked team in nearly every rebounding and paint-related statistic last season, Andre Drummond has solidly elevated the Bulls to a middle-of-the-pack team down low despite logging just 14.7 minutes per game.
Even if the Chicago Bulls do decide to make the unlikely decision to retool the roster, it’s highly unlikely that Drummond would be dealt away in any scenario. In fact, I’d say it’s actually more likely Vucevic is dealt away — paving the way for Drummond to assume a starting role.
3. Derrick Jones Jr.
Derrick Jones Jr. is the third and final player that’s eligible to be traded once the December 15 deadline passes. Coincidentally, he’s also the third player on this list I’d be hesitant to deal away unless the return actually feels like a difference-making package. This serves as a solid barometer for the front office’s performance in free agency, as none of the Bulls’ signings have felt like a disappointment thus far.
Jones Jr. has been a quality spark plug whenever he takes the floor for Chicago, as no one on this roster has quite the rim running skillset in transition or putbacks on the boards as DJJ does. Unfortunately, he’s seen the court just 12.5 minutes per game, the lowest mark of his career since his sophomore season in 2018. For that reason, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bulls move Jones Jr. to a team that has a role more readily available for him to fill.