Bulls News: Andre Drummond makes surprising free agency decision

Andre Drummond, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
Andre Drummond, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

For a Chicago Bulls team that ranked 28th in offensive rebounding and 30th in second-chance points this past season, it’s clear that simply re-signing incumbent big man Nikola Vucevic and running it back won’t suffice here. That’s why Andre Drummond‘s recent comments fortunately seem to indicate the Bulls are getting off on the right foot this offseason.

In an interview on the IAMATHLETE podcast, Drummond expressed a level of comfort in his current position and that he intends to remain with the Chicago Bulls through next season. I was unsure if he’d be willing to return on his relatively meager $3.36 million veteran’s minimum deal, so this could potentially be a big steal for the Bulls moving forward.

“I enjoy where I’m at and I love playing in Chicago,” said Drummond, “I really love being in Chicago.”

This is now the second time a member of last year’s roster has signaled their intention to remain in Chicago next season, as Derrick Jones Jr. similarly claimed he intends to accept his player option.

The Bulls stand to massively benefit with the return of Andre Drummond next season.

Considering how well Drummond played for the Bulls this season, this should be music to the front office’s ears. Although he logged a career-low 12.7 minutes per game, Drummond was as effective in the time he was given as ever. Drummond posted the highest rebounding percentage of his career at 29.6%. This is the sixth time he’s led the NBA in this particular stat, which really puts things into perspective as to just how dominant he was on the boards this year.

Drummond was so elite, in fact, that the next best eligible player Jonas Valanciunas only posted a rebound percentage of 23.1%. Drummond was simply far and away the best rebounder in the league this season, no one else even came close. And yet, the fact that Chicago still ranked near the bottom of every rebounding-related statistic truly goes to show just how poor this team was in the low post, even with Drummond providing elite production when he was on the court.

This is a big reason why many fans believe the Bulls would have defeated the Miami Heat and qualified for the NBA Playoffs this season had Drummond been given a longer leash in the play-in tournament. Posting a team-high plus/minus of +8 in that game, it’s no coincidence that the Heat went on a 27-10 run to close out the game when Drummond was subbed out with eight minutes remaining. Vucevic, on the other hand, had the worst plus/minus of the game at -23 and was repeatedly targeted by the Heat down the stretch.

With only six players from last year’s roster locked into a guaranteed deal next season, this news of Drummond’s intention to opt in should be followed with a massive sigh of relief from Chicago’s front office. Drummond and Jones Jr. both proved to be very effective role players in limited roles, so it’ll be a luxury to have their quality bench play back on the team for relatively cheap next season.

If Drummond and Jones Jr. stick to their word and accept their player options for next season, the Bulls will have eight roster spots filled and $109 million on the payroll. Although Lonzo Ball’s contract has been an albatross of deadweight money on the books, Chicago will still have a fair amount of flexibility left to bring back their talent with this year’s salary cap at $134 million and the luxury tax threshold at $162 million.

Next. Expert predicts $100 million payday for Bulls best prospect. dark