Lakers steal Bulls last chance at a free agency splash

LeBron James, Christian Wood, Chicago Bulls free agency targets (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
LeBron James, Christian Wood, Chicago Bulls free agency targets (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

The latest (and potentially last) free agency domino has fallen this summer with the news of Christian Wood‘s decision to ink a two-year deal to join the Los Angeles Lakers. Wood was a player that appeared to be on the Chicago Bulls’ radar for quite some time, but ultimately it seems that an unwillingness to dive into the luxury tax prevented a deal from ever materializing.

Over here at Pippen Ain’t Easy, Cesar Toscano had previously advocated for the Bulls to sign Wood to fill their depth at the forward positions. I have to say I agree with the premise of Cesar’s beliefs and on paper he would have by all means been a good fit in Chicago. For a while there, it looked like it may actually be happening, according to Dan Woike of the LA Times.

"“According to sources familiar with the team’s free-agent pursuits but not authorized to speak publicly, the Chicago Bulls are suddenly viewed as a potential threat that could keep the Lakers from landing Wood”"

Instead, Wood will be heading to Los Angeles to join forces with a LeBron James and Anthony Davis-led squad that looks far more formidable than it did just one year ago. Although Wood likely won’t crack the starting lineup in LA, he’ll have plenty of opportunity to showcase his skill and potentially rebuild his perceived value around the league.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was the first to break the news of Wood’s decision to join the Lakers in the early hours of the morning.

Now that Christian Wood has signed with the Lakers in free agency, the Bulls’ remaining options to improve are extremely limited.

Now that Wood and P.J. Washington have each agreed to new deals, that leaves Kelly Oubre as the final notable forward remaining unsigned in this year’s free agency pool. With how things have played out thus far, I believe that if Chicago wasn’t willing to use their DPE or the rest of the MLE on Wood or Washington, they’re highly unlikely to pull the trigger on a deal for Oubre now.

That much is especially true as doing so would require cutting Carlik Jones from the roster. After an incredible performance in the 2023 FIBA World Cup and winning the G League MVP award last season, I think it might be best to let this thing ride and see what we have with Carlik — even if the Bulls’ backcourt is beyond crowded at this point in time.

Heading into next season, expect to see Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, Patrick Williams, and either Alex Caruso or Coby White round out the starting lineup. Jevon Carter, Andre Drummond, Torrey Craig, and Ayo Dosunmu will be the key bench reserves, while Dalen Terry, Carlik Jones, Julian Phillips, and Terry Taylor will round out the bench.

dark. Next. Grade the Trade: Bulls land Trae Young in proposal