If you ask three Chicago Bulls fans off the street about their opinions on head coach Billy Donovan, you’ll almost certainly receive three wildly different responses. Despite his controversial status among the fandom — admit it, we always blame the coach first — Donovan has garnered quite a respected reputation around the league. If he can manage to leverage his status in free agency, it may actually help the Bulls bounce back as a better team next season.
Players like Steven Adams and Luguentz Dort would be interesting options in free agency, but they have already signed extensions with their respective teams. Another potentially great addition would be Victor Oladipo, but since he’s rehabilitating from a torn tendon in his knee and has a player option for next season, I don’t expect him to become available. With these players off the board, the Bulls will have to get creative to make the most of Donovan’s pre-existing relationships.
As much as I’d like to throw Taj Gibson on this list for old-time’s sake, let’s focus in on three players I believe could move the margins for the Bulls next season.
These three former Billy Donovan pupils just might join up with the Bulls in free agency.
3. Dennis Schröder
Dennis Schröder is a name that many fans are likely to have a strong opinion on, based on a history of me-first basketball and a long resume of playing on poor basketball teams. Before we cast too harsh of a judgment, however, I’ll ask you to approach this possibility with an open mind and consider the options at the Bulls’ disposal.
If a buyout player like Patrick Beverley could come in and immediately make a big impact for this Bulls team, just imagine what the player the Lakers chose over Beverley could accomplish here. Posting a 14-9 record with Beverley at point, Chicago played a much more balanced game on offense. Schröder, however, is a much more proven playmaker and just as good of a shooter.
Setting the bar with Beverley isn’t all that high though, I’ll admit. So let’s consider the fact that the Lakers repeatedly benched D’Angelo Russell in favor of Schröder in crunch time during these 2023 NBA Playoffs. They clearly had faith in his game, and considering the best years of Schröder’s career came under Billy Donovan, maybe we should too.