If I were the GM Series: Chicago Bulls

By Luke Ervin
Jun. 28, 2020

While the 22-team NBA return to action receives a bulk of the attention, there are eight NBA teams missing the action. The teams not resuming action on July 30 are in the bottom tier of the league. In other words, these teams need help. In this series, I'll be taking control of the eight NBA teams that finished at the bottom of the NBA standings. I will split my decisions into three categories: The draft, Free Agency, and whether or not to make a coaching change. (NOTE: All moves will be realistic.)
The next team I'll be taking over is the 22-43 Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have the seventh-highest odds to land the number one overall pick.
Draft
Top Targets: PG Tyrese Haliburton, SF Aaron Nesmith, PF Saddiq Bey, SF Deni Avdija
Analysis: It may seem odd for the Bulls to draft another point guard but hear me out. Coby White and Tyrese Haliburton bring you completely different skillsets. In fact, both could play on the court at the same time. Haliburton can shoot the three, play good defense, and he's the best passer in this year's draft. White is more of a scoring threat. If Haliburton is on the board, the Bulls shouldn't let last year's draft get in the way of a great selection.
The next two options for the Bulls both fill the three & d type mold. Aaron Nesmith is the best shooter in the draft. Nesmith missed a lot of time last year with an injury. He only played in 14 games but in those games, he shot a stunning 52% from three. His stroke is pure. Nesmith would play on the wing for the Bulls. On the other hand, the Bulls could opt to go after Saddiq Bey. Bey is a power forward but can also play on the wing. Bey shot 45% from three last season. A pick and roll with a shooter like Bey would be deadly. Bey may not have the highest ceiling but if he keep consistently hitting the three-ball he will have a long NBA career.
I'm a fan of Deni Avdija. With that being said, I have some concerns. His three-point shot just isn't there yet. The upside for the Avdija comes with his playmaking ability. He has point guard skills in a forwards body. If Avdija can't develop a three-point shot I'm worried how productive he can be in the NBA. The potential is there but he's not a Luka Doncic type prospect.
Free Agency
Players to Bring Back: PG Shaquille Harrison (restricted), SG Adam Mokoka (restricted)
Analysis: One thing to note is the player option for Otto Porter Jr. which will take up most of the remaining cap space. Porter is very likely to accept the option. Because the Bulls have little space, they should let Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine walk. Both players fail to fit in the Bulls' future plans. Resigning Shaquille Harrison and Adam Mokaka will be very cheap.
Top Targets: SG/SF Joe Harris, PG Goran Dragic
The Bulls won't have much money to spend this offseason. Keeping an eye on the 2021 free agency class may be more important for the Bulls anyways. The Bulls should look to add depth and shooting at the wings while saving cap space for 2021.
Speaking of shooting, Joe Harris will be heavily sought after this free agency. Harris is averaging 14 points per game while shooting 41% from three. Floor spacing is a valuable thing in the NBA. Harris can be that spot-up shooter the Bulls have been looking for. The market for Harris could be bigger than expected because of his perfect fit for the modern NBA, but the hope is they can sign him on the mid-level expectation.
When the Bulls let Kris Dunn go they'll need to add another point guard. The Bulls need a point guard that truly run an offense. White and LaVine are fantastic scorers but both lack the necessary passing skills to run an offense. A true point guard, like Goran Dragic, coming off the bench as your sixth man has extreme value. He can run the offense but he can also play off the ball. He averaged 16 points and 5 assists with the Heat this past season. If the Bulls go with Haliburton the need for Dragic is erased, but he's a solid backup plan.
Coaching
Current Head Coach: Jim Boylan
Analysis: It's time for the Bulls and Jim Boylan to go their separate ways. It remains very likely that the new front office fires Boylan over the offseason. I'm fully on board with that decision.