It’s been a busy start to NBA free agency. Hundred-million-dollar contracts are getting handed out like candy on Halloween. That’s the going rate for top talent these days (bravo to the NBA players union for negotiating such a pact.) For the Bulls, it was no different. Pay All-Star Zach LaVine top dollar or lose him – and that’s precisely what they did. LaVine agreed to a 5-year, $215.2 million contract, the largest in Bulls history. For the Bulls to remain relevant in the East, resigning LaVine was a necessity.
But now comes the hard part: upgrading the roster around the current core of LaVine and DeRozan with limited cap space. With the Bulls’ limited space — and after accounting for LaVine’s new contract at an average salary of approximately $43 million per year, the Bulls have limited wiggle room. That’s why it’s even more important to draft and develop well.
Bulls 1st Round Pick Called ‘Top Steal’ of Draft.
When the Bulls selected Dalen Terry out of Arizona with the 18th pick, they knew what they were getting – a long, athletic floor runner with good court vision. As importantly, Terry is a lockdown defender, earning Pac-10 All-Defense team honors. Most draft analysts saw value in what Terry brings to the current Bulls roster, but Sports Illustrated took it further. Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Sweeney listed Terry as one of their ‘top steals’ of the 2022 draft.
“it’s hard not to love what Terry brings to a playoff team. He was a steadying force for an Arizona team that earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, making an impact thanks to his versatility, defensive chops, competitiveness and catch-and-shoot game. He’s terrific in transition and a high-level decision-maker who raises the intensity level of any game he steps into.”
High praise for the 19-year-old. Both DeRozan and LaVine are ball-dominant scorers, so mixing in another “high-level decision-maker” who can push the break should really help the Bulls’ offense. Add in the fact that Lonzo Ball’s health is a BIG question mark going into the season; Terry’s value only increases.
“Terry’s Arizona role actually mirrored a lot of what Lonzo Ball does now in Chicago. He’ll never be asked to be a major scorer in the NBA, but the Bulls’ roster is built around finding players who add value without the ball in their hands surrounding a pair of high-usage stars in Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.”
Finding Value Outside Of The Lottery Is A Must For The Bulls
We won’t know Terry’s exact role with the Bulls until opening night, but with limited draft picks and salary space over the next few seasons, finding cheap role players who can contribute on a nightly basis is a must. Bulls Executive VP of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas and GM Marc Eversley did well in drafting hometown kid Ayo Dosunmu in the 2nd round of the 2021 draft. He played a significant role as injuries mounted, making All-Rookie Team, and should only perform better in Year 2. Here’s hoping that Karnisovas and Eversley can go 2 for 2.