If the reports that Lonzo Ball may require a third orthoscopic knee surgery come to fruition, it may unfortunately be time for the Chicago Bulls to begin moving on and search for a different answer at the point guard position moving forward. As good as Ball has been for Chicago in limited time, this team needs a player they can depend on to run the show.
As bad as this situation is for everyone involved, there is one silver lining here: this summer’s free agent class is absolutely stacked at point guard. There are a number of players worth getting excited about, and the Bulls have the means necessary to sign or trade for nearly all of them.
Each of these players on this list would make a fine replacement for Lonzo in the starting lineup next year. But before I get started, I’d like to give a special honorable mention to a few point guards who certainly have some merit on the open market, even if I don’t expect the Chicago Bulls to make a move for them in the end.
- James Harden (will only sign with the Rockets or a championship contender)
- Russell Westbrook
- Jevon Carter
- Derrick Rose
- Dennis Smith Jr.
If the Chicago Bulls are to be without Lonzo Ball once again next season, they need to prioritize signing a top available point guard in 2023’s free agency.
5. Tre Jones, San Antonio Spurs
After the Dejounte Murray trade finally opened up a chance for Tre Jones to play significant minutes, he has proven himself to be one-half of perhaps the NBA’s most underrated family. As the younger sibling to Memphis’ Tyus, both Jones brothers are beginning to make quite the name for themselves around the league.
Tre still has a ways to go to catch up to his big brother — who I’ve written about as a potential Bulls trade target in the past — but by all accounts has had a successful first season as a starter in San Antonio. The 23-year-old talent out of Duke has averaged 12.5 points per game in his third season, and that number only stands to grow if he can develop a consistent three-point shot.
Any team interested in Tre won’t be because of his scoring ability, however, but rather for his exceptional playmaking. Jones is averaging 6.2 assists this season, while only turning the ball over 1.7 times per game. While he’s certainly no Lonzo Ball, it’s not a stretch of the imagination to see Tre effectively setting the table for Chicago’s several offensive powerhouses.
Unfortunately, Tre will be a restricted free agent this summer, so any team interested in his services will have to bring an offer to the table that’s lucrative to make San Antonio unwilling to match.