Crucial dates rapidly approaching for the Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls v Toronto Raptors
Chicago Bulls v Toronto Raptors / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

With the 2024 NBA Draft less than two weeks away, the focus is on what the Chicago Bulls are going to do with the 11th pick. 

There are rumors they could trade up, but it’s also possible they’ll just take the best player who falls to them outside of the top 10. 

But the Bulls have other pressing decisions that will have to be made soon after with some important dates that will help determine the direction of the franchise. 

Dates to circle on the calendar for the Chicago Bulls 

June 25th 

This is the final day for Torrey Craig to decide on his $2.8 million player option for the 2024-25 season. This one is out of Chicago’s control and could have a slight impact on their offseason plans depending on what Craig decides. 

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If he opts in, the Bulls either have a journeyman role player who knows how to play his part, or they have a potential trade sweetener, as Craig is decent value for that cost. The more likely option is that Craig opts out in search of more money or years and we’ll know the day before the draft. 

June 29th 

This is the last day for the Bulls to extend qualifying offers to Patrick Williams, Henri Drell and Adama Sanogo to make them restricted free agents. Of these three, only Williams really matters and it’s going to be a tough call for the Bulls. 

The two sides have been far apart on extension numbers so far and the Bulls do run the risk of another team coming in with an offer they don’t want to match. In that case, a sign-and-trade is a possibility, though one the Bulls could end up regretting if Williams goes off and fulfills his potential elsewhere. 

The Bulls will extend the QO and hope to negotiate Williams down after he missed half the season. 

June 30th 

Alex Caruso’s $9.9 million becomes guaranteed. This won’t affect much, as the Bulls could still potentially trade him in the future or start working on an extension. 

More importantly, this is the final day the Bulls can extend DeMar DeRozan. The Bulls have reportedly made a 2-year offer with a huge annual salary that DeRozan turned down in search of more years. 

Can the two sides come to an agreement? If not, is a sign-and-trade a possibility? The Bulls lose some financial leverage if they don’t extend him but could still sign him in free agency.  

How the Bulls handle this will play a big part in their future, as losing DeRozan for nothing would be painful, but going overboard on an extension might hurt even more. 

July 6th 

Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso are eligible for extensions. 

There is no chance Lonzo Ball is getting an extension but if the Bulls have no plans to deal Caruso, then an extension for him is not out of the question. Chicago already missed a golden opportunity to trade Caruso for a nice haul and they’d likely have to take less in a trade now or at the deadline given his contract status. 

His extension number is not bad 4 years/$72 million and is something the Bulls might consider if they envision Caruso as part of the long-term plans or someone they could get more for in a trade when he is already under contract and not a one-year rental.