As juicy trade scenarios light up league discussion circles, the Chicago Bulls plan for the future after making headlines during the 2017 NBA draft. Jimmy Butler’s sendoff signaled a new direction for the franchise. Now, the front office must make decisions on veterans and think about acquiring more assets around its young core.
The Bulls have to make an immediate decision on Rajon Rondo‘s contractual team option, which will pay him $13.4 million if he’s not bought out with $3 million left over in guaranteed cash, per Spotrac.
On a much higher pay scale, Chicago must decide where Dwyane Wade fits within the roster’s rebuilding process going forward.
Essentially, one major trade deal brought more questions than answers for the Bulls offseason. What’s the latest on the roster’s veterans? Who will the team consider acquiring from abroad?
Rajon Rondo’s Return Unlikely
Rondo’s playoff performance, though short-lived, likely boosted his free-agent stock. Initially, the Bulls planned to keep the 31-year-old guard on a lesser deal, but Chicago Tribune reporter K.C. Johnson sees this scenario as a long shot:
This comes along with news the team will not submit a qualifying offer to Michael-Carter Williams, per vice-president of basketball operations John Paxson via ESPN 100’s David Kaplan:
Still, the Bulls have starting potential and depth at point guard with Kris Dunn, Jerian Grant, Cameron Payne and Isaiah Canaan on the books. Chicago’s interest in Rondo begins and ends with his ability to help a young group along with growing pains. Is he willing to focus on long-term development over a short-term push toward the postseason?
From the Bulls’ perspective, it’s best to allow Rondo to hit the market. Wade’s buyout comes with more financial sandbags, which suggests he could stay with the team. As a three-time champion with titles playing alongside present and future Hall of Famers, the 35-year-old guard would be the best mentor in the locker room.
Will Dwyane Wade Seek a Buyout?
Before the Bulls’ draft-night trade, Wade exercised his 2017 player option, and he’s slated to make $23.8 million for the upcoming season. The front office essentially rearranged the dinner table. Now, the team brass must communicate with an aging star about the future.
According to ESPN.com’s Nick Friedell, those around the league expect Wade to don a new jersey in the upcoming season.
“Now that the Bulls have hit the button on a full-scale rebuild, there has been speculation in league circles that Wade would seek a buyout and try to start fresh on a new team next season,” Friedell said.
Cue the banana boat coalition rumors speculating a LeBron James-Wade reunion in Cleveland. Paxson spoke about circumstances pertaining to Wade at a press conference on Tuesday, via Friedell.
“As far as a buyout, it has not been broached. I will say this, that in this type of scenario, it would have to benefit us. It would absolutely have to benefit us. Dwyane was a great pro last year, and he’s been around a lot of different situations.
Paxson and Co. won’t simply wave their NBA personnel wands and grant Wade his best wishes. It’s going to take an ongoing negotiation with the 12-time All-Star giving up a huge chunk of his money to leave Chicago.
Right now, it’s Wade’s call. Does he cash the big checks and go through the motions with a rebuilding team or give up a portion of his salary for an ideal situation elsewhere?
Bulls Showing Interest in Milos Teodosic
Before the draft, the Chicago Bulls showed interest in Serbian point guard Milos Teodosic, per Eurohoops reporter Nikos Varlas.
With Dunn and three reserves behind him on the depth chart, the Bulls may revisit their plans to bring Teodosic to Chicago from Europe. Nonetheless, more than half of NBA general managers view the Serbian point guard as the best international player outside the league, per NBA.com.
ESPN.com analyst Fran Fraschilla, via Kaplan, lauded Teodosic‘s passing ability as second to none:
In 29 Euroleague games, Teodosic averaged 16.1 points and 6.8 assists per contest.
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