A couple of rumors have surfaced since the all-star break regarding who will be the Chicago Bulls next general manager. Big names such as Pacers GM Chad Buchanan and Thunder GM Sam Presti were bantered around.
One thing is certain. Whoever does become the next general manager of the Chicago Bulls is inheriting a royal mess. There is a way out however. It’s called patience, intelligence and luck. The team is probably going to have to take one step back, if that is even possible, before being able to hopefully take two steps forward.
And here’s why.
You will have 28-million-dollars invested in a player that, if lucky, you will be able to turn into a second round draft pick. That player of course is Otto Porter Jr.
Now, Porter was brought here last year as THE solution at the small forward position. He was going to be the perfect fit to complement the skill sets of Lauri Markkanen and Zach LaVine. The “big little three”.
Well the “big little three” has quickly become the “big unhappy Zach and Lauri show” with two different reports that both players are not happy with the situation they find themselves in here in Chicago.
In fact, the disappointment in the Bulls season can best be summed up by saying that this years highlight may wind up being Zach’s appearance in the three-point-shooting contest during All-Star weekend. I mean Markkanen has truly faltered. He is out again indefinitely, and Porter hasn’t even seen game action since November sixth. He played in nine games so far this entire season.
Let’s assume best case scenario though. Let’s say that Otto Porter will return and play a solid 20 games together with Lauri, Zach and Wendell Carter in the starting lineup. For fun, let’s say the Bulls go 14-6 in those games.
Well, that would mean that the Bulls will most likely still miss the playoffs AND you, the Bulls next GM, just inherited a lower draft pick on June 25th. Still, put that aside for a second because we keep hearing this will be a weak and unpredictable draft anyways. The real big problem of next year’s 28-million-dollar investment in Porter is that it is a lose-lose situation.
If Porter plays great those 20 games this season, they still won’t extend him with that injury history. No general manager with half a brain would do so, especially one trying to bring a change of direction. So that means, you are going into the 2020-21 season with a player who controls his own destiny after the season, can easily leave town, and is simply playing for his next contract.
Next years situation with Porter will not be much different from the situation we had this year with Kris Dunn, who we thought, before he got injured, would be traded at the trade deadline. The goal was not to lose him for nothing. Except that with Dunn there’s still at least a qualifying offer to resolve.
The Bulls have even less leverage with Porter though, who will be an unrestricted free agent after next season, not to mention that his contract will be harder to dump mid-season.
The Bulls next GM needs to know that even if Otto Porter plays at an all-star level, don’t be fooled. Trade him mid-season and get what you can. Forget about Chandler Hutchison too, another guy who can’t stay on the floor. Start looking now for who will be your starting small forward for the 2021-22 season.
You can do so in the upcoming draft. Take a close look at Deni Avdija from Maccabi Tel-Aviv, who should be available when the Bulls draft their traditional number seven pick. If you haven’t seen him play, the kid has already starred on the big stage. He has been playing organized basketball since he was eight years old. Go check out his YouTube highlights.
He was named the FIBA Under-20 European Championship‘s MVP and the year before he led his national team to the gold medal. His father was a member of the senior Yugoslavian national team, so professional basketball is in his blood. In my opinion, he has all the tools needed to be a very solid player in this league and won’t take as long to learn the NBA game as some of the one-and-done NCAA players.
The second thing you will need to do as the new GM of the Chicago Bulls is to immediately start looking for a point guard who can run your offense as soon as next season.
Tomas Satoransky is not a starting point guard in the NBA, let alone a backup on some teams. Kris Dunn is also not that guy though he may carve out for himself a nice career as a backup. If he can stay healthy, I think he has not yet his ceiling.
However, since we are stuck with Sato for at least another $15 million and Ryan Arcidiacono for three million, it’s time to move on from Dunn, despite his incredible value as a defender, and use his $7 million dollars elsewhere.
Yes, it would be nice to see what we have in Coby White at this point, but since he didn’t start Thursday night in the first game back after the All-Star break, or last night (when he scored 33 points), it could be that Jim Boylen may not give him that chance. Boylen even said after the game that he likes Coby on the second unit.
We may just end up entering next season viewing Coby as a second year combo guard. As he gains confidence, he may become that Lou Williams type off the bench. Best case would be that he develops into a CJ McCollum type. I would not place a bet on him being ready by next season, especially if Boylen doesn’t allow him that experience.
Don’t waste time. If you want to get a good look at how Zach, Lauri and Wendell play together next season, don’t mess with the point guard position. Make point guard you’re number one priority after firing Jim Boylen and hiring a head coach with NBA coaching experience.
The player I advise to make a play for is Illinois native and NBA champion Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors. He’s young, knows how to win, and is a team player. Sign him! His game will mesh perfectly with Zach and Coby. The Bulls would also have more flexibility with Zach as Coby continues to develop.
With the right coach and point guard, things can change quickly. Remember, winning games creates a winning culture. The time of teaching and developing is over. If the Bulls want fans to begin to forgive them for the last three seasons, bring in a proven winner at point guard.
Have a great week and catch you on the rebound.