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Mark Schanowski's Bulls Mailbag: NBA Draft edition

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Mark Schanowski's Bulls Mailbag: NBA Draft edition

 

With the NBA draft just three weeks away, teams are busy putting prospects through workouts and interviews at their training headquarters, hoping to get a little better insight on which players will fit best in their system and also some intel that could come in handy down the road in trades and free agent signings.

Bulls fans have their typically strong opinions on which players they'd like to see end up in Chicago this summer. Here's a look at some of the questions sent via Twitter.

Anthony Segarra @Asegarraventure  Thoughts on Romeo Langford? You think he'll move up in the draft?

Actually, it looks like Langford might be sliding out of the lottery after an underwhelming freshman season at Indiana. The 6'6" shooting guard was projected as a top 10 pick back in November, but he struggled to make shots from the college 3-point line, hitting only 27% from beyond the arc. Langford has the size scouts are looking for on the wing, but he was inconsistent in being able to drive by an initial defender and get to the rim at Indiana. He'll need to play well during individual team workouts to rehabilitate his draft stock and maybe go late in the lottery.

Jermaine Jones @jermainejones  Mock drafts have Cam Reddish climbing up the board. Is this a good thing for the Bulls getting Coby White? Can he be De'Aaron Fox 2.0?

That's a great comp for Coby White, who really impressed scouts with his speed and ability to score in transition. Fox is another speedy 6'5" point guard who showed tremendous improvement in his 2nd NBA season with Sacramento. The Bulls would love to see White on the board at No. 7, but speculation at the combine had White receiving a promise to be drafted by a team that picks ahead of them. Reddish could be a factor in how this all plays out, since a number of teams believe he has more "star" potential than any player outside the top 3. If the Lakers decide to take Reddish at No. 4 or the Cavs draft him at No. 5, another quality player will drop to the Bulls, potentially giving them a choice of either White or Darius Garland. Individual workouts and trades over the next 3 weeks could shift the order of the top 7 picks dramatically.

Brandon Moss @brandonmoss587   What do you think of Jarrett Culver? Could he be the pick? Or what do you think of Cam Reddish as our pick?

Culver looks like an ideal fit for the Lakers at No. 4, given their need for an upgrade at the shooting guard spot, but it appears they're more intrigued by the idea of going with a two point guard look with Lonzo Ball and Darius Garland, or taking a gamble on Reddish's upside. Culver reminds some scouts of DeMar DeRozan with his 6'7" frame and ability to score in the mid-range. Others compare him to Jimmy Butler as a strong perimeter defender with yet to be untapped offensive potential. I think he would be a really good value pick for the Bulls at No. 7, and might be able to eventually take over as the starting small forward when Otto Porter Jr.'s contract expires. Reddish could potentially play the 2,3 and 4 positions at the NBA level, and would add some much-needed scoring to the Bulls' bench. If both are on the board, I would take Culver.

Ko Kong @365jerry  How likely is it that Robin Lopez will be back? If not, how about Taj Gibson as a solid bench piece? I think Pat Beverley as your starting vet PG is okay for 2 years.

I can tell you Taj loved his time in Chicago, and he represents exactly the type of quality veteran player the Bulls are hoping to add this summer. But if the front office pursues Gibson, that probably means Lopez won't be back. Ideally, the Bulls would like to add a player who can provide backup minutes at the center and power forward spot, which is something Gibson can definitely do in today's small-ball era. As for Beverley, he's not your prototypical point guard, but he would provide some of the toughness and physicality the Bulls want to add. The Chicago native has already been having some fun with Bulls' fans on social media who have offered their support to bringing Beverley home next season. But the draft comes first, and we'll have to see if the Bulls get a point guard there before speculating which free agents they might be interested in to compete with Kris Dunn.

elias photography chicago @elias_Zi  How is a Mike Conley trade doable considering he's making over 30 million (32.5 for next season to be exact) and what would Memphis consider as a trade equivalent? I don't want the Bulls to give up this year's picks.

Conley is still an excellent player, but at this stage of the Bulls' rebuild, I can't see them adding another huge veteran contract on top of the two-year commitment they've already made to Otto Porter Jr. The Grizzlies would definitely want the Bulls No. 7 overall pick as they start their rebuild from the Grit 'n Grind era, and you'd probably have to include Kris Dunn or another player as a sweetener. The deal couldn't be made until after July 1st when the new salary cap kicks in. Adding Conley might give the Bulls a chance to compete for the 7th or 8th playoff spot next season, but at this point, I think the front office is thinking more long term at the point guard position.

Bulls Nation Brasil @BullsNationBR_  Waive and stretch Cristiano Felicio? Is this possible?

Yes, there is a provision in the collective bargaining agreement that allows teams to waive a player with years remaining on his contract and extend the amount of time to pay off the remaining salary. In Felicio's case, that would mean paying out the roughly $16 million dollars he's owed over five years instead of two, with annual cap hits of around $3.2 million. Using the stretch provision would give the Bulls about $5 million dollars more to spend this summer, but might cause them problems down the road when they're in better position to add a top free agent. The Bulls have applied to the league to have the $3 million dollars owed to Omer Asik wiped off their books because of a career-ending medical condition, but they still haven't received a final decision.

LS Craig Thomas @ls_ia_craigt72   What is it about Chicago that top free agents don't sign here?

Signing elite free agents is all about timing. NBA players have more power than ever before with the stars looking to join forces in the cities of their choosing. That's why you are hearing the rumors of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving teaming up in New York, or possibly Irving and Kawhi Leonard in Los Angeles with the Clippers. We all remember what happened in 2010 when Pat Riley was able to create three max salary slots, out-maneuvering the Bulls to get the super-friends trio of LeBron, DWade and Chris Bosh. Then in 2014, the Bulls made Carmelo Anthony their number one target, but couldn't match the money being offered by the Knicks. The Bulls have been in the hunt for the biggest stars, but couldn't close the deal for a variety of reasons. NBA superstars are looking for money, the chance to win, endorsement potential and outside factors like weather and a city's quality of life. The Bulls will have to prove they have a strong enough foundation to become a contender in the East before they can get back into serious pursuit of the game's top free agents.

Luke Stanczyk @lstanczyk27   Do you think the Bulls can fit Patrick Beverley, Taj Gibson and Trevor Ariza under their cap space? I would love that off-season.

If the Bulls get a positive ruling on the Asik medical situation, they could have around $23 million dollars to spend in free agency. It's always difficult to predict what kind of salaries mid-level free agents will command in a buyer's market since there are so many players available this summer, but quality vets like Beverley and Gibson would probably fall in the $8-10 million dollar range annually. I doubt the Bulls would have any interest in Ariza because of their glut at the small forward position, but to answer your original question, they'll probably be able to add 2 mid-level vets with the cap space they have available.

Steven Schucker @angrysteveworld  Biggest upset in NBA Finals history if the Raptors pull it off?

It would definitely rank among the biggest. Dallas knocking off Miami's super trio of James-Wade-Bosh in 2011 definitely comes to mind, especially considering the Mavericks had a pretty ordinary roster outside of Dirk Nowitzki. Detroit was able to knock off a Lakers' team in 2004 featuring Shaq, Kobe and over the hill stars Karl Malone and Gary Payton with a lineup that lacked a superstar, but had quality starters in Rip Hamilton, Chauncey Billups, Ben Wallace, Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince. That would qualify as a significant upset. And, then going back a long time, the Bill Walton-led Portland team rallied from a two games to none deficit in 1977 to beat the Philadelphia 76ers led by Julius Erving, George McGinnis and former Bulls coach Doug Collins. One of the great things about the NBA is the better team usually proves itself over the course of a seven-game series. Not many longshots can survive multiple rounds of the playoffs and then beat a favored team in a best of seven NBA Finals matchup. And, if Toronto is able to knock off the Warriors this year, injuries to Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins will have to be factored in before calling it the biggest Finals upset ever.

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Bulls bring back Shaq Harrison on a one-year deal

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Bulls bring back Shaq Harrison on a one-year deal

The Bulls' defense just got a whole lot better.

Just a few hours after signing free agent center Luke Kornet, the Bulls have brought back guard Shaq Harrison on a one-year deal.

Harrison's non-guaranteed deal had been waived earlier in the month to make room for Thaddeus Young's three-year, $41 million deal.

It's not an Earth-shattering move that will shift any championship odds in Vegas, but Harrison's return gives the Bulls an outstanding defender and a 25-year-old who spread his wings offensively toward the end of last season.

Harrison's defensive worth really can't be understated. He was statistically one of the best defensive guards in the NBA last season.

His offense is another story. He doesn't exactly have ball-handling capability and his shooting splits - .432/.270/.667 - were nothing to write home about. He averaged 6.5 points in 19.6 minutes.

But he also took on an increased role late in the season with the Bulls "resting" their top-tier players. Over the final 10 games of the season, averaging 30.8 minutes a night, Harrison averaged 12.8 points on 45.8% shooting, 35.3% from deep and even managed 2.2 assists.

He'll slot in somewhere behind Zach LaVine on the second unit, with he, Denzel Valentine, Coby White and Kris Dunn (for now) battling for minutes in the backcourt.

Additional moves could be coming for the Bulls, who could still easily waive Antonio Blakeney's contract or deal Dunn to get the Bulls to 15 contracts. Kornet and Harrison would give the Bulls 16 contracts.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Concerns and optimism for Bulls after offseason moves

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Bulls Talk Podcast: Concerns and optimism for Bulls after offseason moves

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski, Mark Strotman, and Matt Peck discuss NBA Summer League and Bulls odds to make the postseason.

0:45       Impressions of Bulls at Summer League and not overreacting

2:00       On concern over Coby White’s 3-point shooting

3:25       On the positive signs from White in Vegas

4:40       On the pushback that Ricky O’Donnell got from suggesting Arci may be ahead of White in the rotation

7:30       Did the Bulls have an underrated offseason?

9:45       How the biggest concern and reason for optimism is health

12:00    Why a deeper roster puts more pressure on Jim Boylen and his staff

16:10    Any chance of John Sabine trying out for the Windy City Bulls?

17:05    Our favorites in the wide open Western Conference and can the Lakers make it work?

21:55    Can the Bucks put it together and win the East next season?

25:10    Darkhorse team in either conference?

28:05    Is it too much to expect the Bulls to make the playoffs?

Bulls Talk Podcast

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