Bulls depth chart heading into free agency: Vucevic decides the future

Nikola Vucevic, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Nikola Vucevic, Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The 2023 offseason looks to be a time of inner turmoil for the Chicago Bulls. Is this team truly good enough to make a playoff run? Was there any move that would have made this team a championship contender? Is it really realistic to place your faith in a team that still hasn’t figured out it needs a legitimate point guard on the roster? All these questions and more will be answered this summer, as the front office will be forced to revitalize a depth chart that will soon find itself transitioning from an abundance of talent to a skeleton of what it once was.

Now that the Bulls have hired a full-time player development and shooting coach in Peter Patton while also working to bring back their current talent, it looks like Chicago will attempt to bring its current young core up to speed as this team revs up for another competitive season.

But will these moves shake up the depth chart and help the Bulls bounce back from a disappointing 40-win season?

Nikola Vucevic’s free agency decision may radically alter the future of the Chicago Bulls.

Here’s every outgoing free agent the Chicago Bulls stand to potentially lose this summer, as management prepares to make a few difficult decisions regarding the way this roster has been built:

  • Nikola Vucevic
  • Coby White
  • Javonte Green
  • Ayo Dosunmu
  • Patrick Beverley
  • Andre Drummond (player option)
  • Derrick Jones Jr. (player option)
  • Terry Taylor
  • Justin Lewis

With a dramatic nine players facing an uncertain summer (plus another two in Carlik Jones and Marko Simonovic on unguaranteed deals for next season), the Bulls will have a difficult time retaining their current core and adding pieces to improve next time around.

Now that only six players on the current roster are locked into a guaranteed deal for next season, it’s become increasingly difficult to envision just what Chicago’s rotation may look like next year. Taking into account everything we know right now, here’s how the Bulls’ depth chart looks before making any moves in free agency.

The Bulls’ current depth chart before free agency

  • PG: Alex Caruso, Carlik Jones, Lonzo Ball (injured)
  • SG: Zach LaVine
  • SF: DeMar DeRozan, Dalen Terry
  • PF: Patrick Williams, Derrick Jones Jr.*
  • C: Andre Drummond*, Marko Simonovic

*Since Jones Jr. and Drummond have each already confirmed their intentions to accept their player option and return to the Bulls for the 2023-24 season, we’ve included them in this iteration of the depth chart.

The Bulls’ projected depth chart after free agency

  • PG: Coby White, Alex Caruso
  • SG: Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu
  • SF: DeMar DeRozan, (New Free Agent), Dalen Terry
  • PF: Patrick Williams, Derrick Jones Jr.
  • C: Nikola Vucevic, Andre Drummond

For better or worse, I fully expect re-signing Vucevic and White to long-term deals to be among the Bulls’ top priorities this summer. However, as it currently stands, doing so will likely put them up against the luxury tax wall. That’s why I foresee Chicago letting Green, Beverley, and potentially one or both of Jones and Simonovic go this summer so that they can invest in a quality reserve wing. From there, Dalen Terry and Ayo Dosunmu can battle it out for minutes in the rotation.

It’s hard to say just how well this version of the Bulls would perform, especially if they fail to acquire a quality playmaking point guard to run the offense. But at this point, I’m not sure there are any better options for the team to take at this juncture if they wish to remain a competitive squad again next year.

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