Grade: Bulls re-sign fan favorite Ayo Dosunmu to long-term deal

Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images) /

With news of their second free agent signing of the day, the Chicago Bulls seem determined to lock up their roster for the 2023-24 campaign as soon as possible. Although the newest member of the roster — Onuralp Bitim — is an unknown quantity to all but the most hardcore basketball fans, I’m sure many Bulls fans (myself included) rejoiced when news of Ayo Dosunmu‘s return to Chicago first broke.

Drafted 38th overall in 2021, Ayo’s story as the hometown underdog is the stuff movies are made of, it’s hard not to root for the guy… at least when he’s playing well. Although he took a step back in his sophomore season, the potential he displayed as an elite role player earned him All-Rookie Second Team honors in 2021 and showed he could be a valuable asset to the Bulls moving forward.

Dosunmu came to terms with Chicago on a new three-year deal for $21 million, a relatively low amount for a quality role player in today’s NBA. This move brings the Bulls right up against the luxury tax threshold, contributing even more speculation about Jerry Reinsdorf’s willingness to spend big to field a winning team.

Ayo Dosunmu will be staying with the Bulls for years to come after signing a $21 million contract extension.

Although he was a second-round draft pick, injuries and a lack of depth have forced Dosunmu to start in an incredible 58% of all his games thus far. This is a big reason why I believe the fanbase may have judged him too harshly at times, he’s simply been asked to play a role he shouldn’t have been in in the first place. In that time, his defense, playmaking, and overall game IQ gave the front office and fans plenty to be hopeful for in the future.

Even though Dosunmu will now return to the Bulls for the next three years, that doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed significant playtime. After Chicago’s decision to sign Jevon Carter and bring Coby White back on another long-term deal of his own, the path to minutes looks more daunting than ever. Ayo will be the fifth guard in the Bulls’ rotation, as he focuses on his personal development and hangs around as very solid injury insurance.

So even though he won’t sit too highly in the Bulls’ depth chart right out of the gate, I still believe this was a quality move from the front office. If Ayo fails to make any significant improvements, this is hardly a big cap hit to worry ourselves over. If he does manage to find a consistent shot and become the player I believe he can become, however, his contract could very easily become a high-value steal.

Before we begin patting ourselves on the back here, Dosunmu has to actually take that next step. So until then, count me cautiously optimistic about this deal.

Grade: B

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