Bulls Rumors: Should Giannis be on Chicago’s free agency radar?

Giannis Antetokoumpo, Chicago Bulls, NBA Rumors, NBA Free Agency (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokoumpo, Chicago Bulls, NBA Rumors, NBA Free Agency (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Try as they might, the Chicago Bulls are not likely to reach true contender status until they add a bonafide superstar talent to this roster. Today’s NBA is no different than years past in that regard, titles are won on the backs of superstars.

For a while there, it seemed like the Bulls had a real shot to add just that. But whether it was a Derrick Rose knee injury, a lack of cash to expend on Carmelo, specific trade demands from Kobe, or a Big 3 in Miami, there’s always been something preventing Bulls fans from experiencing a top-five player at his craft. So when Giannis Antetokounmpo told reporters that he loved the idea of playing on the Bulls, I can’t blame people for getting just a little too excited about this fantasy.

"“It’s a team that won multiple championships, it’s a team that one of the greatest players, if not the greatest player to ever play this game played for. So it’s a no-brainer, everybody would love to play for Chicago. Down the line you never know, you never know how life brings it, maybe I play for Chicago, but right now I’m committed to Milwaukee.”"

In the end, the Bulls did end up poaching a player from Milwaukee, just not the one most fans were holding out hope for. While Jevon Carter should be a great addition to the roster this season, he obviously doesn’t carry the level of superstar impact that someone like Giannis would.

Interestingly enough, picturing Antetokounmpo in Chicago may not be quite as far-fetched an idea as you might originally think. That’s because Giannis has publically expressed an openness to leaving the Bucks if they fail to maintain a contending roster around the two-time MVP.

Here’s what Antetokounmpo had to say to the New York Times (subscription required) regarding a potential contract extension this season.

"“I would not be the best version of myself if I don’t know that everybody’s on the same page, everybody’s going for a championship, everybody’s going to sacrifice time away from their family like I do. And if I don’t feel that, I’m not signing.”"

Adding a superstar like Giannis Antetokounmpo would be a drastic move every Bulls fan could get behind.

As it currently stands, Giannis is contracted through 2026, but can (and likely will) opt out at the conclusion of the 2024-25 season. This means the Bulls would need to be in a better position than Milwaukee within the next two years just to even have a shot at getting conversations started.

It’s interesting then, that the Bulls inked all of their core free agents this summer to three-year deals, keeping the team in a competitive state while also maintaining assets for future trade negotiations. Of course, this could just all be a coincidence, but the fact that none of Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, or Bobby Portis have guaranteed contracts further than two years out will make keeping the Bucks at an elite level a much more difficult task. This is doubly true when you consider the fact that Milwaukee has no premiere prospects to develop and take the load off Giannis.

The Bulls, on the other hand, are in a much better state. The core of Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, Coby White, Jevon Carter, Ayo Dosunmu, and Dalen Terry are all contracted through 2026 at least. Patrick Williams will be a restricted free agent this offseason and the Bulls will also have bird rights to bring Alex Caruso back if they so desire. Most importantly, Chicago will be off of the hefty deals for DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball by them, granting the Bulls plenty of financial flexibility to bring in a superstar like Giannis.

Admittedly, it’s still a long shot, but this hasn’t stopped some fans from already envisioning just what Giannis would look like donning a Chicago Bulls jersey.

The Bulls have a reputation for signing former stars when their best days are already behind them, but Antetokounmpo figures to be 30 years old next time he’s a free agent — which means he should still have plenty of MVP-caliber basketball in the tank by the time he signs his next deal. Even if Giannis abandons the Bucks in 2025, the Bulls would obviously just be one of 29 other teams interested in signing the future Hall of Famer, but the fact he may actually be on Chicago’s radar is plenty of reason enough to get me excited.

Next. Which Bulls players are on the trade block?. dark