2. Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors
If the Bulls are purely searching for top-end talent this summer, they could surely do worse than one of the best guard options on the market in Fred VanVleet. Toronto’s leader in the backcourt is expected to opt out of his $22.8 million player option in the offseason to hit the open market and pursue a long-term deal.
VanVleet would make for a peculiar fit in Chicago, considering he plays more like a shooting guard despite having the size and build of a point guard. Still, his talent is undeniable and he is probably the best fit when it comes to directly replacing the things that made Lonzo so valuable to the Bulls — shooting, defense, and playmaking.
Unfortunately, VanVleet has played relatively poorly for his standards this year. His shooting percentages fell off a cliff in the early part of the season, as he shot just 38.2% from the field and 33.2% from beyond the arc before the calendar flipped to 2023. We’ve seen those numbers inch upward as he’s improved his play as the season goes on, but he’s likely regretting not signing an extension sooner (something he claims he was never offered).
A dip in performance this year could very well end up bringing his asking price down this summer, which would allow another team like the Bulls to get involved and potentially poach FVV away. If his shot returns to form, VanVleet could be a massive steal for whoever is willing to gamble on him. Even if he doesn’t bounce all the way back, he’s still good enough of a player that he could always be dumped off to a contender who’s one piece away in the future.
It’s debatable if VanVleet would be the right fit for the Chicago Bulls, but I don’t think potential contract negotiations will be too big of a hurdle to cross for whoever ends up inking him to a new deal in the end.