Bulls stick with patient approach in free agency

  • JOE LEWNARD/jlewnard@dailyherald.com, 2012The Bulls continued to take their time in an aggressive NBA free-agent market, but are interested in signing Dwayne Wade.

    JOE LEWNARD/jlewnard@dailyherald.com, 2012The Bulls continued to take their time in an aggressive NBA free-agent market, but are interested in signing Dwayne Wade.

Updated 7/2/2016 10:07 PM

NBA free agents continued to fly off the shelf Saturday, even at inflated 2016 prices.

The Bulls, though, stuck with their patient approach and didn't add any players. Can a wait-and-see approach pay dividends in an aggressive market?


In the short term probably not, simply because most of the top free agents are gone. Sacramento point guard Rajon Rondo visited with the Bulls on Friday, but hasn't agreed to any deal. There are also reports the Bulls have shown interest in Chicago native Dwyane Wade, who isn't happy with his offer from Miami, and Heat guard Tyler Johnson, a restricted free agent.

Besides Wade and Pau Gasol, it's tough to even come up with a list of quality free agents still on the market. Kevin Durant had yet to announce a decision as of Saturday evening, but he's not considering the Bulls.

The best available free agents would probably be big men such as Dallas' Zaza Pachulia, Golden State's Marreese Speights, Indiana's Ian Mahinmi and the Lakers' Roy Hibbert. The Bulls don't really need a center unless they trade Taj Gibson.

Restricted free agents can't sign offer sheets until the moratorium ends on July 7, so that's another avenue the Bulls could explore. There's been no indication the Bulls are prepared to give a maximum offer to Golden State forward Harrison Barnes, even though he seems to be a good fit. Espn.com reported that Dallas is planning to make such an offer to Barnes, but nothing can happen until Thursday. If the Warriors miss on Durant, Barnes might just re-sign with Golden State.

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The Bulls might have interest in lesser-priced restricted free agents, guys like Portland's Moe Harkless and Allen Crabbe or Oklahoma City's Dion Waiters.

There was a report Sacramento is willing to trade forward Rudy Gay, a player the Bulls have tried before to acquire. For a while on Saturday, it looked like Atlanta would try to unload all-star power forward Paul Millsap in order to re-sign Al Horford. But Horford committed to Boston instead.

It's looking more and more like the Bulls are content getting another draft pick in the lottery next season, then heading into the summer of 2017 with loads of cap room.

The Bulls tried a similar move before, back in 2000, and had little success because free agents didn't want to join a losing team. The Bulls are in better shape now than they were back then, but championship contention remains an important prerequisite to free-agent recruiting.


So it looks like things might stay quiet at the Advocate Center, at least until Thursday when they have a chance to throw out offer sheets to restricted free agents.

Besides Horford to Boston, some of Saturday's other agreements were Toronto center Bismack Biyombo to Orlando, while two New Orleans players, forward Ryan Anderson and guard Eric Gordon, agreed to terms with Houston.

Former Bulls forward Luol Deng is jumping from Miami to the Los Angeles Lakers. Miami guard Joe Johnson is going to Utah, Charlotte guard Courtney Lee to New York, New York guard Arron Afflalo to Sacramento, while Charlotte's Marvin Williams will stay put.

Joakim Noah officially accepted an offer from the New York Knicks for a reported $72 million over four years. Bulls guard E'Twaun Moore agreed to four years and $32 million from New Orleans late Friday. Gasol is reportedly getting interest from San Antonio, Minnesota, Portland and Toronto.

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