NBA Rumors: Bulls targeting over-the-hill veteran for final roster spot

DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Chicago Bulls, NBA Rumors (Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports)
DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Chicago Bulls, NBA Rumors (Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports) /

Two days ago, the Chicago Bulls proved to us that they want to wrap up the offseason and fill out the roster as soon as possible by re-signing Ayo Dosunmu to a long-term deal and offering their final two-way contract spot to Onuralp Bitim. These moves brought the Bulls to 17 players, leaving room for one more on the main roster. There’s been plenty of speculation as to who Chicago may target for their final signing, but I never expected the recently-waived Rudy Gay to be a possibility.

This news comes from HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, who has been a reliable and trustworthy source many times in the past.

"“Veteran forward Rudy Gay is expected to draw interest from several playoff-caliber teams, including the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Chicago Bulls, and New Orleans Pelicans, league sources told HoopsHype. Gay was healthy last season minus a finger joint sprain that sidelined him for two weeks and a member of Utah’s rotation through most of last season. Over the last few years of his career, the 17-year veteran has developed into primarily a power forward.”"

After bringing back Nikola Vucevic to start at center and shoring up the guard rotation with the signings of Jevon Carter, Coby White, and Dosunmu, it only makes sense to add to the forward depth now. While I agree with the idea in principle, signing Gay is clearly not the move that puts the Bulls over the top, they’ll need to aim higher than that.

To put things into perspective, Rudy was a rookie when Ben Gordon and Ben Wallace were the best players on the Bulls. Gay is only a year younger than Bulls legend Luol Deng, who hasn’t been in the league for over four years now. He is also now the NBA’s 11th oldest player and has also played long enough to have the 11th most total points scored of any active player — ranking ahead of Paul George and right behind Damian Lillard.

As impressive as that feat is, the Bulls can’t pay for Gay’s past production. He averaged just 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game last year and has never been a dependable shooter. Although the Bulls need help on the wing, Rudy isn’t a player that can be trusted in a big role anymore. There are already too many concerns regarding this team’s roster construction with players over the age of 30, I believe it would be unwise to add fuel to the fire here by signing Gay.

Rudy Gay is not the free agency splash the Bulls need at this point in time.

Despite his age and relative lack of on-court production, Gay seems to have attracted a good deal of interest around the league from contending teams. I was shocked when I heard the news, but the word on the street is that the Lakers, Mavericks, Pelicans, and Warriors have also registered interest in the veteran forward.

Fortunately, I believe it’s unlikely Gay would choose the Bulls over these other options. He’s not likely to see heavy play time regardless of where he goes, and as he creeps up on 37 years old, he must be distinctly aware that he does not have much time left to achieve his NBA goals. I expect the veteran to join up with a true championship contender, so that he may have a shot at earning a ring as the curtains close on his career.

The Bulls have explored other avenues to fill the roster out as well, including monitoring the situations with free agents forwards P.J. Washington and Christian Wood. They were also expected to sign Summer League guard Javon Freeman-Liberty, but ultimately decided to go in a different direction.

It’s clear the Bulls are intentionally keeping a roster spot open to make one final move, but it’s hard to say just what the front office plans to do with it. For now, we’ll just have to keep an eye on Gay’s situation and hope a more qualified free agent (like the aforementioned Washington or Wood) is still in play.

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