Bulls reader mailbag: When will the rebuild pay off?

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Bulls coach Jim Boylen might end up being a transitional coach for the early stages of the rebuild. For now, though, John Paxson made it clear he wants a coach who will hold young players accountable and he thinks Boylen can do that.

    Bulls coach Jim Boylen might end up being a transitional coach for the early stages of the rebuild. For now, though, John Paxson made it clear he wants a coach who will hold young players accountable and he thinks Boylen can do that. Associated Press file photo/Dec. 2018

 
 
Updated 4/15/2019 5:59 PM

Two years into the rebuild and the Bulls haven't started building the wins yet.

But the postseason mailbag always shows improvement. Let's get right to questions from readers:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Is there any chance Coach Jim Boylen will not return? -- @dopez24

Obviously, there's a chance for any coach not to return, whether it's injury, illness or something strange happening. But the Bulls have made it clear they're going to stick with Jim Boylen heading into next season and he'll probably sign an extension soon.

Boylen might end up being a transitional coach for the early stages of the rebuild. For now, though, John Paxson made it clear he wants a coach who will hold young players accountable and he thinks Boylen can do that.

This organization is so dysfunctional. Speaking to fans on the ledge, what are realistic goals for this team in Year 3 of the rebuild? -- @JeffBode88

First of all, step back from the ledge. It seems reasonable to believe the Bulls could make some positive progress next season, maybe challenge for a playoff spot if all goes well. One of the most basic fundamentals of building an NBA team is more geniuses are made through lottery luck than anything else. Would Gregg Popovich be considered one of the league's greatest coaches if the Spurs didn't win Tim Duncan in 1997? Probably not and he'd be the first to admit it.

So I'd point out that when the Bulls did get lucky with Derrick Rose in 2008, they built a pretty good team around him and finished with the league's best record twice. That could happen again. Or if the Bulls drop a few spots in this year's lottery, their chances of becoming a championship squad will likely fall no matter who's in charge.

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Who is a decent free agent that the Bulls have a shot at this summer? -- @t_browning1

As I wrote a few days ago, expect the Bulls to do some careful value shopping and try to add some veterans who can improve the depth. A couple suggestions are Brooklyn's DeMarre Carroll, a versatile forward with playoff experience, or New Orleans guard Elfrid Payton, a former lottery pick who might be ready to blossom.

If the Bulls had more cap room, they could consider making a run at someone like Charlotte's Kemba Walker. They don't have that cap space, but this could be an eventful summer around the league. The Bulls should stay in touch with teams trying to trade players to clear cap space and be available if some free agents get left out of the initial rush in July.

Regardless of contract status, who would you rather see in a Bulls uniform next season: Antonio Blakeney or Walt Lemon Jr.? -- @Shirley_I_Jest

Hmmm, I'd be fine with either one, as long as they're the 14th or 15th player on the roster. Blakeney had a rough year, but he has some potential as an instant-offense guy off the bench, which is great skill to have. Lemon is a nice story, but he probably needs to improve his jump shot to stick in the NBA. I expect the Bulls to try to bring back Shaq Harrison and suspect at this point they'd prefer Ryan Arcidiacono over Lemon as an extra point guard.

Which assistant coaches do you think will be back on Boylens staff next season? -- @ChrisBr0698331

I don't expect major changes, but it will be interesting to see if Boylen brings in sort of a second lieutenant to sit next to him. Boylen made a couple of changes when he took the job, bringing old friend Dean Cooper over from Windy City and moving on from Randy Brown.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Boylen and Pete Myers have worked together for four seasons, Karen Stack will stay on board if she wants to. Nate Loenser came here as a Hoiberg guy, so his status is a little uncertain. The Bulls do need someone to coach Windy City, since Charlie Henry left for Alabama.

Coming in Part 2: Getting drafty

Twitter: @McGrawDHBulls

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