While achieving success as a team is vitally important, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that so many members of the Chicago Bulls roster are playing for themselves as well. With this many players in a contract year, the Bulls will have plenty of tough questions to answer in the near future; a strong end to the season from any of these players could end up significantly impacting the front office’s decision-making in contract negotiations.
Although Chicago worked to get DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso, and Lonzo Ball inked to multi-year deals in the summer of 2021 and followed it up by signing Zach LaVine to a max extension in 2022, half of the remaining roster will be eligible to hit free agency this upcoming offseason.
Only LaVine, DeRozan, Ball, Caruso, Patrick Williams, and Dalen Terry are guaranteed to be on next year’s roster as it currently stands. That’s why the decisions the Bulls make this summer will be absolutely critical, as they’ll be forced to re-sign their key contributors if they wish to continue contending in the Eastern Conference.
The Chicago Bulls must retain these 3 key impending free agents if they wish to remain competitive next season.
3. Patrick Beverley
With nearly half of the roster set to hit free agency this summer, it may seem odd to prioritize bringing back a would-be 35-year-old veteran in Patrick Beverley. After all, the Bulls can’t expect Beverley to maintain this level of play forever, so it makes if some would like to see the team focus on retaining the young talent.
Fortunately, most of Beverley’s value to this team lies not in his actual on-court ability, but rather in what he’s been able to get out of his teammates. Virtually every player on the roster has looked better since Beverley joined the team, particularly Zach LaVine and Patrick Williams.
The Chicago Bulls would be wise to retain their newfound veteran leader in Patrick Beverley past this season.
LaVine himself has been particularly fond of the addition, even going so far as to liken him to former Bull Thaddeus Young and claim he’s been trying to recruit Beverley for the past few years now.
Even if Beverley slides down to the second unit, I have no doubts about his ability to follow in Thad’s footsteps by adjusting and continuing to be a stabilizing presence off the bench for this roster. If Beverley is allowed to leave in free agency this summer, the Bulls will be right back where they were just two weeks ago. Without that vocal locker room leader to lead the way, the Bulls would almost certainly submit another spineless performance next season.