The Chicago Bulls failed to make it to the playoffs in 2022-23. This marked the fifth time the franchise has missed the playoffs over the past six seasons. With another season gone wrong, Bulls fans were hoping to see some major offseason moves. Here is a look at what the Bulls have done thus far.
Chicago Bulls re-sign Nikola Vucevic
The team reached an agreement with Nikola Vucevic on a three-year deal worth $60 million. Vucevic was acquired by Chicago via trade back in 2021. In 28 games with the Bulls that season, Vucevic tallied 21.5 points and 11.5 rebounds. And during his next two full seasons with the team, he compiled averages of 17.6 points and 11 rebounds per contest. He shot 52.3 percent from the field, marking the sixth time he has accomplished that feat. And he shot a respectable 34.9 percent from the field as well. This is significant because he makes opposing teams pay when they opt to focus their attention on Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan.
Vucevic played in 73 and 82 games, respectively over the past two seasons. Not only that, he was one of only two Bulls players that suited up all 82 games last season. Based on his production and availability, the front office viewed him as an integral part of the team going forward. And this deal certainly echoes that sentiment.
Chicago Bulls bring back Coby White
Reserve guard Coby White agreed to return to the fold on a three-year deal that would pay him $40 million. During that 2020-21 campaign, White averaged 15.1 points per contest. Unfortunately, his scoring production has dipped in the last two seasons. In 2021-22, he averaged 12.7 points per contest. And last season, he averaged 9.7 points per contest while playing a career-low 23.7 minutes per outing.
Additionally, White’s usage rate was a career-low 18 percent last season. Despite the dip in production over the past two seasons, White had his most impactful season with the team in 2022-23. The Bulls outscored opponents by four points per 100 possessions when he was on the court. This was the second-highest margin of the seven rotational players on the team that logged at least 1,000 minutes.
Although White can be somewhat careless with the ball at times, he has shown the ability to stretch opposing defenses. Not only did he convert 37.2 percent of his attempts from three-point range last season, but he is also a career 36.7 percent from long range during his first four years in the league.
Chicago Bulls add former Milwaukee Bucks guard Jevon Carter
The Bulls reached an agreement with former Milwaukee Bucks guard Jevon Carter. The deal is reportedly for three years at $20 million. Carter was a second-round draft pick for the Bucks back in 2018. During the first five seasons of his NBA career, Carter never averaged more than six points per contest.
However, that changed drastically last year when Khris Middleton was out of the rotation due to injuries. Last season, Carter started 39 games for Milwaukee and played well alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo. He averaged a career-high eight points and 22.4 minutes per contest. Both are career highs.
Even more important, Carter knocked down 42.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc, and he is shooting 39.7 percent from distance overall. This is significant for a ball club that ranked last in 3-pointers made and attempted last season. Another reason why this move can be considered a good one is that Carter has earned a reputation for being a good defender. And with Lonzo Ball ruled out next season, the Bulls certainly need another guard that can get after it defensively.
Chicago Bulls Recap & Final Analysis
Bringing back Vucevic was a no-brainer as he has proven to be a reliable big man that has a post-up game and he can down the long-range shot when he needs to do so. Simply put, Vucevic can roll out of bed and put up a double-double on any given night.
The Coby White deal was good in the sense they didn’t break the bank to bring him back into the fold. And since the Bulls were a better team with him on the floor, White should see an increased role next season for a team that needs all the scoring it can get from its second unit.
The decision to add Jevon Carter to the mix can be viewed as a good choice as well. Sure, he will NOT replace what Lonzo Ball brings to the table. But Carter has proven to be a guy that can run the team’s offense, is a capable defender, and he can stretch the floor with his 3-point shooting.
In the final analysis, these were solid choices. However, it seems very unlikely these moves have positioned the team to compete with the top teams in the eastern conference – i.e., the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, and the Philadelphia 76ers.
With that said, the Bulls will once again be a .500 team that will struggle to remain relevant in the conference playoff race.