By: Robert Weihofen
The Bulls haven’t had a busy Free Agency in terms of the amount of moves, but they have made some solid moves to help improve an already solid young core. It was well known the Bulls were not going to involved in the LeBron sweepstakes, and that left a pretty thin market of potential top players for the Bulls to attract. They were able to do is keep a piece of the Jimmy Butler deal to make the trade stick and show the fans they are committed to the move, and land a hometown product in Jabari Parker about a week or so later.
The first question many Bulls fans had was would LaVine stay? Coming off of an ACL tear, he had a hard time finding consistency when he returned to the lineup for the Bulls mid-season. The Bulls only had one team they had to worry about, and that was the Kings. It was rumored that LaVine would be willing to go, as he felt the Bulls Brass was not totally in on him. With that in mind, the Kings and LaVine’s camp went to work on a deal, and landed on a 4-year, $74 Million deal. The Bulls matched, keeping the 23-year old in Chicago. The Kings did some of the dirty work for them. There are injury protections in the deal for his repaired left knee.
The second question of the offseason was if the Bulls would chase any free agents outside of their own to improve the young core. Parker had been linked to the Bulls for quite some time and a deal got done last week. He will be introduced in the United Center Atrium at 11a.m. on Wednesday.
The instant concern here is investing in another player with an ACL injury. His 2-year, $40 Million deal has some fans on the edge, but there is good news. Year two is a Team Option so if he gets hurt again or doesn’t produce like they think, the team can back out. The downside is wanting to play Parker at Small Forward where he did not produce as well in Milwaukee, but only time will tell how this works out for the Bulls.
Now, the big question with the re-signing and signing of LaVine and Parker respectively is, are the Bulls now contenders? In short, yes they can be. As much as people like to rip on “GarPax” they have put together a solid young core in Chicago. In a weaker Eastern Conference with the departure of James to LA, the Bulls could find their way into the playoffs next season, and maybe even make a surprise run. Contending for a Title may still be years off, but if this young core stays together and become a strong unit, the Bulls will find themselves at the top of the East pretty soon.