Bulls lose out on perfect power forward target to Nets in free agency

Patrick Williams, Trendon Watford, Chicago Bulls free agency targets (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
Patrick Williams, Trendon Watford, Chicago Bulls free agency targets (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images) /

Even with 17 players on the roster (including a trio of two-way contracts), it’s no secret the Chicago Bulls are still lacking in depth at the forward positions. As it currently stands, Patrick Williams and Torrey Craig are the only players on the roster capable of logging heavy minutes at power forward, which is why many fans wanted to see the team go out and sign a free agent like Trendon Watford.

That ship seems to have sailed now, as the Brooklyn Nets have jumped on the opportunity to sign the promising free agent. Averaging 7.5 points and 4 rebounds in his first two seasons in the league, Watford looks to achieve greater success in an extremely deep Nets frontcourt rotation that includes Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Nic Claxton, Royce O’Neale, Dorian Finney-Smith, Day’Ron Sharpe, Noah Clowney, Darius Bazley, and even Ben Simmons.

When you look at things this way, it’s hard to imagine the Nets were a more attractive destination over Chicago, unless the Bulls’ just did not register interest in signing Watford at all.

Despite a relatively productive first two seasons in the league, Watford was released by the Trail Blazers to clear up roster space and allow the team to focus on winning now. Unfortunately for Portland, it seems that move may have backfired following news of Damian Lillard’s trade request. Watford could have been an exciting piece to watch develop on a rebuilding team, but will now look to reach new heights in Brooklyn instead.

Losing out on Trendon Watford in free agency was a big missed opportunity for the Bulls.

After the bulk of this year’s free agency signings concluded, Watford was a player on many people’s watchlists as a potentially sneaky good signing. In fact, I even had Watford ranked fourth on my big board of the best remaining free agents to fill Chicago’s hole in the depth chart at forward.

Had Watford joined up with the Bulls, he could have served as the primary power forward off the bench and received a significant chunk of minutes with Torrey Craig sliding up to small forward. Even if the Bulls want to play small ball, Craig could remain at power forward while Watford could fill in behind Andre Drummond as the third center and insurance in case of injury. Either way, Trendon would have been an interesting and flexible asset to have on the team.

Watford was a particularly interesting target, because unlike the top three forwards on my big board — P.J. Washington, Christian Wood, and Kelly Oubre — he was the only one who could have been acquired on a minimum contract. Right up against the luxury tax wall, any of these three players would have pushed ownership into the tax, something we’ve seen they’re unwilling to do thus far.

There’s still time to net one of the big fish, but as the other good options like Watford come off the board, it’s becoming more difficult to believe the Bulls’ depth chart will be shored up by the time the season tips off.

Next. 8 best remaining free agent forwards for the Bulls. dark