Now that the NBA's trade deadline has come and passed, teams around the league now look to the buyout market to make any marginal improvements ahead of their playoff preparations. This is familiar territory for the Chicago Bulls, as they significantly improved and posted a 14-9 record to finish the season after signing Patrick Beverley in free agency just last year.
Unfortunately, this time it seems one of the Bulls' top targets just got scooped up by another team. That's because Kyle Lowry has elected to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers, just days after being waived by the Charlotte Hornets. Lowry was a casualty of the trade that brought Terry Rozier to the Miami Heat, and will look to have some newfound success in a smaller role with the 76ers.
Considering the Bulls once again failed to make any deals at the trade deadline, it's only natural that they'd look to pick up a free agent to help compensate for the loss of Zach LaVine — who will miss the remainder of the season after electing to undergo foot surgery. Bulls beat reporter K.C. Johnson highlighted Lowry as a player Chicago's front office would be interested in pursuing.
Of course, that sentiment wasn't only held by the front office, as Bulls star forward DeMar DeRozan would have likely loved to share the court with his former teammate once again.
"I mean if [recruiting Lowry] was asked of me, either from him, if that was something he wanted to do for sure," says DeRozan, "You know, just why not? That's one of my closest friends, one of the smartest player I've ever played with since I've been in the league. So you know, why not?"
The Bulls must look elsewhere after missing out on Kyle Lowry in the buyout market.
The Bulls rank 28th in the NBA in assists per game and are an extremely iso-dependent roster, so it makes sense why they'd look to acquire a true playmaker who could potentially help the game flow smoother and provide the occasional easy basket now and then. Even in his 17th season in the league, Lowry has proven himself to be an exceptional playmaker and could have potentially thrived in that role for Chicago.
At the same time, it's difficult to ignore the fact that there just wasn't much room for Lowry in the backcourt rotation in the first place. Even in LaVine's absence, Coby White, Alex Caruso, and Ayo Dosunmu have proven themselves to be the most important pieces of this backcourt rotation and deserve every minute they get.
Then there's Jevon Carter, and adding Lowry would push Chicago's biggest free agent signing of the last two seasons out of the rotation. That's an admission of failure that I'm not sure Arturas Karnisovas would be willing to make.
What the Bulls truly need is a player with size who can defend the perimeter and be a reliable three-point threat. Standing 6-foot-nothing with hardly a reputation for his defensive presence, Lowry certainly does not fit the bill here. He is a 38.5% three-point shooter on the season, however, this is the highest mark he's attained in three years and he shoots them at a sizeable but not massive volume of 4.4 attempts per game — simply put, I wouldn't count on him to be the reliable sniper this team needs.
Instead, the Bulls will be forced to look elsewhere if they wish to once again improve via the buyout market. Other options at Chicago's disposal may include players such as Danilo Gallinari, Joe Harris, and Thaddeus Young. Stay tuned for more updates, as the landscape of the buyout market is likely to be settled very soon in the coming days.