Bulls’ perfect Vucevic replacement is set to hit free agency this summer

Naz Reid, Chicago Bulls, NBA Free Agency Rumors (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Naz Reid, Chicago Bulls, NBA Free Agency Rumors (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bulls are now in the offseason and have many different options to consider. The team has many different players that are on expiring contracts, many of whom attract heavy minutes. These players include Nikola Vucevic, Coby White, Patrick Beverley, Javonte Green, and Ayo Dosunmu. Additionally, players like Andre Drummond and even DeMar DeRozan have been rumored to be on their way out.

With all of these moving pieces, it will be interesting to see who the Bulls’ front office values most and which players are going to get paid. Nonetheless, there will be a need to replace some of these players, as Chicago is simply not built to contend for a title the way the roster is currently built. With this in mind, a key signing the Bulls should make is for Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid, especially with one or maybe both of Chicago’s centers on their way out.

I’d like to turn our attention toward Reid here, who is going to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. This means that the Chicago Bulls have a prime opportunity to acquire the 23-year-old if they aggressively pursue the young talent. Reid is a 6-foot-9 center that brings consistent energy to both sides of the floor.

Naz Reid is a young player that is strong on both sides of the floor and would be a great Nikola Vucevic replacement for the Chicago Bulls.

On offense, Reid has been excellent in his limited minutes on a center-heavy Timberwolves roster that features Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert. The LSU product averaged 11.5 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in just 18.4 minutes, which translates to 22.5 points and 9.6 boards per 36.

He has done this with good efficiency, shooting 65.3% from inside the arc while showing he has the ability to shoot the three-ball at a 34.6% clip. One of Reid’s main strengths is that he has a tremendous handle for a center, as he is able to drive to the hoop and does not rely on being fed by his teammates.

There are several plays in this clip where Reid makes moves to get himself a better shot, and this would be especially valuable for the Chicago Bulls as they have not yet found a true point guard that is a strong distributor. A player like Naz Reid would be able to make up for this downfall and put the Bulls in a better position.

Defensively, Reid has also seen steady improvement over his career. One of his top highlights was this ridiculous block against the Pistons…

…  and another here against the Utah Jazz.

Reid brings a certain physicality and rim-protecting presence that the Bulls currently do not have. This was one of Chicago’s main weaknesses during the season and the addition of Naz Reid would remedy this issue.

How would Naz Reid fit into the Chicago Bulls lineup?

Looking at the potential minutes situation if the Bulls end up getting Reid, there is a lot currently up in the air. The prevailing thought is that Andre Drummond will not be with the team next year, or will be in a very limited role. Nikola Vucevic is going to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, which means that Chicago has an important choice to make.

The three main options include keeping Vucevic, which would likely require giving him a $15-20 million annual salary, doing a sign-and-trade with a contending team, or just letting him walk for nothing. The third option seems unlikely considering the Chicago Bulls’ relationship with Vooch, and the fact that they would likely be able to get some value from him through a sign-and-trade even if they did not want to retain him for next season.

If the Chicago Bulls end up getting rid of Vooch, either through a sign-and-trade or in free agency, the addition of Naz Reid would likely mean the 23-year-old will get his first starting job. This would actually make him more likely to sign with Chicago, as many teams will likely go after Reid and the Bulls may not be able to pay him more than other franchises due to cap constraints. With that being said, bringing Reid into the fold with no other changes to the roster would make the following starting lineup:

  • PG: Coby White or Alex Caruso*
  • SG: Zach LaVine
  • SF: DeMar DeRozan
  • PF: Patrick Williams
  • C: Naz Reid

*Assuming Lonzo Ball does not return before the end of next season.

This would mean that the Chicago Bulls starting lineup would be an average of 6’6″, which would be one of the smaller teams in the league. However, Williams and Reid have proven to play larger than their height, so they would likely be able to get by.

The Chicago Bulls definitely have a lot of options for next season, and most of their roster is up in the air. However, the team must take a look into some of the gems in free agency, and Naz Reid is one of those players. He is an excellent fit within the Bulls organization and would be an addition that would put them in the right direction and set the tone this offseason.

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