In the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft, the Bulls selected 6’11” Marko Simonovic out of Serbia. Upon choosing Simonovic the Bulls front office announced he would continue to play overseas for at least a year. Since that time a lot has changed with the Bulls. There had been quite a bit of discussion regarding Simonovic and his availability next season. Today we got the official announcement that Simonovic will be on the Bulls roster this upcoming season.
2020 second-round pick Marko Simonovic is signing with the Chicago Bulls, his agent Misko Raznatovic announced.
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) July 13, 2021
Simonovic has spent the last 2 seasons with KK Mega Bemax in the Adriatic League. In the most recent season, Simonovic averaged 15.1 PPG, 48.4 %FG, 9.1 RPG, & 1.63 APG. Simonovic held down the center position for the team and led them to 2nd place in the Serbian RK Cup. Simonovic ended the season with 13 double-doubles and one 20 rebound game. He has spent the last 4 seasons playing overseas and is primed to move over the NBA. At just 21 years old he’s another young piece added to the Bulls puzzle. Will he fit in with this Bulls squad?
Lauri Markkanens replacement?
If the plan for the Bulls was to retain power forward Lauri Markkanen they likely wouldn’t be bringing Simonovic over. He is a similar type of player to Markkanen. He’s big and can get into the paint but he can also pop out and shoot the three. Last season he had a three-point shooting percentage of 32.2%. Simonovic comes in 1″ shorter and 20 lb lighter than Markkanen. They are very similar in terms of build. Markkanen hasn’t seemed to work out for the Bulls so bringing in Simonovic at a lower price is the smart move. Simonovic has continued to work on his game over the last few seasons. He’s put himself in a position where he looks like he can jump right into NBA action.
Was impressed with how Chicago Bulls 2020 second round pick Marko Simonovic played today. These three plays stood out for me.
(Video via ABA League/YouTube) pic.twitter.com/WiobagDR8L
— Daniel Greenberg (@ChiSportUpdates) March 1, 2021
There’s quite a bit of content out there surrounding Simonovic as he played at a high level this past season. He’s certainly got the size to be successful in the league. Being able to shoot when called upon is something that Markkanen seemed to struggle with. Hopefully, Simonovic will be able to continue his good shooting with the Bulls. While it’s good to see Simonovic heading to Chicago the biggest question is how much will he cost?
Simonovic’s price tag
There haven’t been any official numbers come through yet but you will likely see Simonovic sign for $5-$6 million per year. Which is quite the discount when compared to Markkanen. The price tag for Simonovic was also estimated based on a previous dealing done by the Bulls front office.
Four years, $5-6m is the range we might be able to expect for a Marko Simonovic contract. https://t.co/VVhMs7nfmP
— Artūras Karnišovas Fan Club (@arturasfanclub) July 13, 2021
This price tag is what has many people thinking the Bulls have no desire to bring Lauri back. They now have a cheaper replacement who has multiple years of experience playing at a professional level. The Bulls will put themselves in a position to be able to move on from Markkanen and not be looking for the next player to fill his role. There’s still a lot up in the air when it comes to the Bulls roster. But bringing in Simonovic helps to fill a gap that will shortly be there. With Simonovic joining the team the Bulls have one less decision to make this offseason.
What to do with Lauri
At this stage, the Bulls don’t have a lot of options with Lauri. They can potentially find a partner to sign & trade him with. There’s potential for the Bulls to find a deal with the Spurs so they can bring in guard Dejounte Murray. If they can’t find a partner then Markkanen will walk. There are certainly teams out there interested in him but they may not be looking to trade anyone to get him. If that’s the case and the Bulls are out of luck he will walk for nothing. The Bulls had their chance to re-sign him ahead of last season and passed. Markkanen didn’t do much to make a case for the Bulls keeping him. At this stage, we can only hope the Bulls can get some return on him with a sign & trade. Either way, the Bulls have a new addition to the roster who will slide right in where Lauri was. Let’s hope Simonovic can continue improving in the NBA and might even end up like Nikola Jokic.