Chicago Bulls fared well in free agency but stuck to the script
Trying to keep track of the opening hours of NBA free agency was an exhausting process.
Teams obviously did plenty of prep work and dozens of deals were announced on opening night. Now most of the deals have been made, except the biggest fish of them all, Toronto's Kawhi Leonard, who is taking his time deciding between the Lakers, Clippers and Raptors.
The Chicago Bulls jumped into the ring pretty quickly, locking up Indiana forward Thaddeus Young and Washington guard Tomas Satoransky. So how did they do?
When it comes to executing the game plan, the Bulls did really well. As far as filling the team needs, they probably exceeded expectations.
That's because neither Young nor Satoransky figured to be available when the season ended. Young was a full-time starter on a playoff team, while Satoransky was essentially the Wizards' one and only point guard, since John Wall could miss all of next season with an Achilles injury.
But the Pacers decided to retool and figured Young was expendable, since they had a young, talented player coming off the bench at the same position in Domantas Sabonis. Washington is apparently attempting a partial rebuild, knowing it can't do much with the expensive contracts of Wall, Bradley Beal and Ian Mahinmi.
Satoransky and ex-Bulls forward Bobby Portis were both restricted free agents and the Wizards let them loose, with Portis signing in New York. Washington added Ish Smith at a cheaper price to man the point-guard spot.
Young, 31, is a solid, versatile, reliable veteran. He missed just one game in each of the past two seasons, which is huge for the Bulls, runs the floor, does the dirty work and played for Bulls consultant Doug Collins early in his career with Philadelphia.
At the start of free agency, a versatile forward was an ideal addition for the Bulls, and I suggested Brooklyn's DeMarre Carroll as a target. In Young, the Bulls got a better and slightly younger version of that player.
It would have been interesting to see Chicago native Patrick Beverley bring some of his fire to the Bulls' locker room.
Beverley is both famous and infamous for his hard-nosed defense and tendency to anger opponents. But he started on a playoff team last season, so the Bulls figured to be a longshot if the Clippers wanted him back, and that's what happened. The Bulls didn't have enough cap space left to match the three-year, $40 million deal he got to stay in L.A.
Point guards were coming off the board quickly, so Satoransky was a nice acquisition. He's kind of a veteran, 27 years old with three years of NBA experience. The Czech Republic native is known for a high basketball IQ, along with a willingness to push the ball and attack the basket.
So, in theory, he can start at guard while rookie Coby White gets acclimated and maybe transition to a bench role if White progresses quickly.
If there's a complaint to be made, it's that the Bulls stuck to the script. You win in the NBA with talent and a couple of young stars popped wide-open, Brooklyn all-star D'Angelo Russell and New Orleans power forward Julius Randle. Both could have made an argument for being the best player on the Bulls' roster.
Randle ended up signing with New York, so the Bulls definitely had a chance there. It's tough to tell whether the Bulls made a push for either player.
Russell, 23, would have been a nice addition and could have played alongside Zach LaVine in a tall backcourt. But Russell ended up going to Golden State in a sign-and-trade, so maybe the Bulls had no chance.
The Bulls could make more moves. They have the room exception, worth $4.76 million, still available to use. An interesting list of players have taken that offer, from Robin Lopez (Bucks) and Enes Kanter (Celtics) to suburban natives Frank Kaminsky (Suns) and Richaun Holmes (Kings).
But their roster is filling up. While it seems likely the Bulls will try to find a new home for Kris Dunn, they have 13 players under contract, including Young and Satoransky, plus rookies White and Daniel Gafford. That doesn't include guards Ryan Arcidiacono and Shaq Harrison, who are candidates to return next season.
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