3. The Bulls must address the end of their bench, and do it fast
Following news of Chicago’s newest rookie Julian Phillips inking a four-year deal with the Bulls, the roster now has 12 players with guaranteed contracts for next season. What the team does with those remaining three spots just may decide how far the Bulls can realistically take things next season.
For starters, if the Bulls do indeed bring Dosunmu back, that leaves only two main roster spots left for the taking. This is where things get particularly interesting, especially as Carlik Jones has yet to have his deal guaranteed for next season. Spotted with the team at Summer League in Las Vegas, this could be an indication the front office intends to keep Jones around for another year. On the other hand, it may be difficult to justify rostering a seventh guard when the Bulls still have several other holes to address.
The Bulls have a wealth of interesting players to choose from to round out the roster.
Speaking of Summer League, Javon Freeman-Liberty has made about as strong of a case for himself as anyone in Las Vegas. Averaging 21.3 points, 5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game on an excellent 53.7% shooting from the field and 46.7% from deep, don’t be surprised if JFL plays his way onto an All-Summer League Team by the time these games come to an end.
That being said, even a Summer League championship may not be enough to save him. Much like Carlik, Javon will struggle to make his way onto the full roster due to a lack of minutes to go around in the backcourt, even if he’s playing at an NBA level already. I spoke on this yesterday, but I feel it’s worth reiterating. Allowing Freeman-Liberty to leave in free agency would be a big mistake, at the very least, the Bulls need to lock him down to one of their three two-way contract spots.
At the moment, only the recently signed undrafted rookie Adama Sanogo holds a two-way contract with the Bulls. This means Chicago can sign Freeman-Liberty while still retaining enough flexibility to bring back either Terry Taylor or Justin Lewis for another year.