Bulls

Bulls Mailbag: Heading into a crucial offseason

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USA TODAY

Bulls Mailbag: Heading into a crucial offseason

 

Chicago sports fans are known for their knowledge and passion, and that’s definitely the case when it comes to Bulls Twitter. Every day I receive questions and comments about what’s going on with the roster, coaching staff and front office. So, here’s a look at some of the issues on the minds of fans in our initial Bulls mailbag. We’ll be answering some of the questions in this format on a weekly basis leading up to the NBA Draft on June 20th.

Brandon Moss @BrandonMoss587

What are your thoughts on us drafting Cam Reddish?

I have to admit, I wasn’t too high on Reddish after a disappointing freshman season at Duke which included just 33% shooting from the college 3 point line. But with the Bulls falling to 7th in the lottery, Reddish might be the best player available. He measured 6’8” with shoes at the combine, which means the Bulls could potentially use him at 3 positions, including power forward when they play Lauri Markkanen at center in small ball line-ups. Reddish has all the physical traits to be an excellent NBA player, and since the top 3 point guards will probably be off the board when the Bulls pick at 7, they can’t be worried about trying to fill a positional need. Reddish could wind up climbing during individual team workouts, so there’s a chance Cleveland could take him at 5, but if he’s still available at 7 that would be my pick.

 

Gustavo Vega @iamvega1982

Trade the 7th pick for a veteran or draft a player?

Given that this is such a top-heavy draft, there probably won’t be a ton of interest in the 7th pick, since there isn’t a big difference in the quality of player available in the 4-14 range. If the Bulls want to pursue a quality starter like Mike Conley or Jrue Holiday, that 7th pick could be a piece in a larger deal, but the pick by itself won’t bring you the caliber of point guard the Bulls are hoping to find. So, unless it’s part of a larger trade, I would keep the pick at 7 and look for a guy that might develop into a star like Reddish.

 

PatTheDesigner @PatTheDesigner

Reports says the Bulls are looking to trade the 7th pick for Lonzo Ball. Do you feel this is a good deal or would it be better to draft at 7 and try to develop within?

I’m not a big fan of Lonzo Ball even though he’s a good passer and defender. The Bulls need a point guard who can be a spot-up shooting threat playing alongside Zach LaVine and that’s not Lonzo (or Kris Dunn). Also, the Lakers drafted Ball 2nd overall in 2017 so I don’t think they’re ready to give up on him yet, unless he’s a key piece in a trade to acquire Anthony Davis from New Orleans. The 7th pick isn’t ideal, but the Bulls’ bench definitely needs an upgrade, and a player like Reddish, De’Andre Hunter or Kevin Porter Jr. could provide some much-needed scoring for the 2nd  unit.

 

hyper pony @cronebender

Now that we are four deep with a core that, at the very least, plans to get big minutes—and may add a PG vet—then isn’t it basically indefensible to not search for high ceiling payoff with the #7 pick? Draft is now the only path to superstars & some still playing went 7 or lower?

That is the hope for all the teams that weren’t lucky in last week’s lottery, finding players like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who all went 7th or lower in the draft. Reddish was one of the top rated players coming out of high school, while USC’s  Kevin Porter Jr., North Carolina’s Nassir Little, Oregon’s Bol Bol and Indiana’s Romeo Langford were all considered potential top 5 picks at the start of the college season.

The Bulls will have to trust their scouts and make their selection based on long term potential over expected production as a rookie. As you mention, they already have a young core in place, now it’s time to swing for the fences.

 

Deion “d3” Garcia @deiongarcia

Is it time for the Bulls to push for a playoff run now? Or wait ‘till 2021?

No reason why these ideas have to be mutually exclusive. As my colleague Mark Strotman wrote for NBC Sports Chicago, the next great free agent class will come in the summer of 2021, so the Bulls have to make sure they keep their salary cap situation in good order to have money to spend when Otto Porter Jr.’s contract comes off the books in 2021. But they still have to be competitive in order to get meetings with the top players.

Brooklyn’s unexpected playoff run this past season puts the Nets in position to at least have discussions with some of the elite free agents, while the Bulls made the Porter trade because they knew their rebuild hadn’t advanced far enough to generate any interest from players like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson. The next challenge is showing that the young core of Markkanen, LaVine and Wendell Carter Jr. can be competitive in the East and strong enough to reach contending status with the right free agent addition.

 

Joe @JoeZo88

Is the Lakers’ pick key to what the Bulls do at 7? If they take Garland, White probably goes 6 to Phoenix? That leaves either Culver or Hunter to the Bulls at 7. Thoughts?

I think you’re reading the board correctly at this date in late May, but there’s a long way to go until draft night on June 20th. Teams are just starting the process of bringing players to their facility for individual workouts and interviews, and I saw an item from ESPN’s draft analyst Mike Schmitz saying Reddish was far and away the best player on the court during a group workout put on by his agency. Some mock drafts have Reddish as low as 10 because of his poor shooting at Duke, but based on long range potential, he could easily move up to 4 or 5.

Darius Garland left the combine last week with a promise from a lottery team, believed to be the Lakers at No. 4 by many. Will new coach Frank Vogel want to play Garland and Ball together? Or is it possible they change course and draft a more traditional shooting guard like Jarrett Culver? Right now, it appears the Lakers are leaning towards Garland and the point guard-needy Suns will almost certainly take White at 6. That means Cleveland will probably choose between either Culver, Hunter or Reddish, with two of those wing players being available to the Bulls at 7.

 

elias photography chicago @elias_Zi

There’s over 200 FA’s this off-season. Do you think it’s better to wait and see what happens with first signings, or try to get your wish list and hope they’ll bite? Do you see many FA’s waiting for a good deal being left out in the cold?

The biggest decision for the Bulls’ front office will be deciding whether to extend an offer sheet to a restricted free agent point guard like Malcolm Brogdon or Terry Rozier. They would have to use most of their approximately $20 million dollars in cap space to try to steal one of those players away, and their money would be tied up for three days while either the Bucks or Celtics decide whether to match the offer. Plus, is either one of those players worth a huge contract, especially on a rebuilding team hoping to add an elite free agent down the road?

If the Bulls decide to go right to the unrestricted market, starting caliber players like Ricky Rubio and Darren Collison will command big offers, with Chicago natives Derrick Rose and Patrick Beverley on a lower level, along with career reserves like Cory Joseph and Ish Smith. Point guard figures to be the number one priority for the Bulls in free agency, but they’d also like to add an experienced big man like Taj Gibson, Ed Davis, Kevon Looney, Kenneth Faried or Mike Scott, and maybe a lower priced 3-point threat like Wayne Ellington, Seth Curry or Reggie Bullock.

With so many free agents available, there will probably be 25 or more players still looking for a contract when training camps open in September, so teams that are patient might find some excellent bargains later in the summer.

 

Matt Peck @Bulls_Peck

Which Bulls Outsider is his favorite?

Actually Matt, it’s a tie for 3rd, but John Sabine wins because he brought in donuts more often than you and Big Dave! Obviously, just kidding. I’m sure all of our Bulls Talk followers enjoyed the great work from the Bulls Outsiders throughout the past season. They have tremendous chemistry on air and off. Kendall, Will and I had a blast watching games with the guys in the green room. They’re passionate fans with great personalities, and their energy and sense of humor helped us get through a very difficult season. Okay, that should be good enough for them to bring in pizza on opening night!

Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. It’s always fun to hear from our great fans on Bulls social media. We’ll be doing another mailbag next week, so feel free to ask questions about the NBA playoffs, free agency or anything that’s going on in the world of basketball.

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Vincent Goodwill previews free agency

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: Vincent Goodwill previews free agency

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski and Kevin Anderson are joined by Yahoo Sports NBA insider Vincent Goodwill

0:45 - Vinnie on basketball never stopping

1:55 - On Bulls selection of Coby White

2:45 - Dynamic between Kris Dunn and White

5:30 - Are Bulls likely to bring in a veteran point guard to mentor White?

7:30 - What kind of contract is Pat Beverley looking at?

9:40 - Will Bulls have enough cap space to sign three free agents?

11:50 - Vinnie on his vote for Zach LaVine for Most Improved Player

13:25 - On the NBA Awards show and its timing

15:45 - On Giannis and the Bucks, where can he still develop?

18:05 - On Kevin Durant and his options in free agency

21:40 - Why Durant will want to control his own destiny

23:30 - Vinnie on Jimmy Butler and where he may end up

26:10 - Vinnie on why he didn’t play in the media tournament during the NBA Finals

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Talk Podcast

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The 1995-1998 Bulls belong on the list of 10 greatest lineups in NBA history

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AP

The 1995-1998 Bulls belong on the list of 10 greatest lineups in NBA history

Listen, Tom. We like you. A lot. You do incredible work and you give us shoutouts. But we had to read through your latest piece, “Ranking the 10 greatest lineups in NBA history,” a few times before realizing you had a massive omission.

We present the following: The 1995-1998 Chicago Bulls.


PG: Ron Harper
SG: Michael Jordan
SF: Scottie Pippen
PF: Toni Kukoc
C: Dennis Rodman

Total All-Star appearances: 23
MVP Players: 1
DPOY Players: 2
Finals MVP Players: 1
Titles won together: 3

We thank you for mentioning Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in your piece. They were pretty good, we agree. We’ll dig a little deeper on those two to begin our argument. From 1995 to 1998, Jordan averaged 29.6 points on 48% shooting, 6.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.9 steals. He also didn’t miss a game, playing in 304 of a possible 304 games. He was also named league MVP twice and Finals MVP all three years. Pippen wasn’t too shabby a sidekick, averaging 19.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.8 assists in that three-year span.

These guys were all-time greats, but you might have forgotten that they weren’t alone.

All Dennis Rodman did in this three-season span was lead the league in rebounding all three years (15.3 per game). He wasn’t the same All-Star talent that he was in his Detroit days – also a two-time Defensive Player of the Year – and his San Antonio stint but he was still critical to the Bulls’ success. The Worm had a little bit of Draymond Green in him, not afraid to take on any defensive assignment to allow the Bulls a little more versatility. He got assignments of Shawn Kemp and Karl Malone in the Finals.

Kukoc is where we bend the rules a bit, but we hope you’ll allow it (mostly because our argument turns to dust if we need to talk about Luc Longley). Kukoc was the 1996 Sixth Man of the Year (hey, you said they could be closing lineups, too) and was a model of consistency in those three seasons. He averaged 13.2 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 4.0 assists and gave the Bulls another ball handler and distributor, as well as versatile defense. He’s at times the forgotten gem of the Jerry Krause era, and he’s more than just a funny story from the Dream Team era.

The Bulls had their Iguodala, too. Ron Harper averaged a modest 7.7 points and 2.7 assists in these three seasons with the Bulls. But he also did it with a 14.9% usage rate. That was lower than Bill Wennington’s usage rate of 17.0% in that same span! Let’s not forget that Harper had averaged 19.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists in eight seasons with the Cavaliers and Clippers before signing with the Jordan-less Bulls. He would have had a much larger and more effective role had Jordan not returned (we’re glad he did). In 1998, Harper also had the pleasure of guarding Gary Payton and John Stockton in the Bulls’ three Finals victories. Have you had enough of the Iggy comparisons yet?

So there it is. Five incredible players to put together three remarkable championship seasons that included the Greatest Team in the History of Basketball (our capitalization intended). Feel free to update your story as needed.