Bulls Offseason Moves Have Fans Excited for the Future


Devin Oommen, Staff Writer

Chicago sports fans are buzzing after offseason moves brought many new high-profile players to the Bulls. The team lost seven players from the previous roster and added five new players through various league transactions. Analysts, such as Sam Quinn of CBS Sports, have branded the transactions as part of an aggressive, win-now strategy. The new players on the Bulls roster are Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, DeMar DeRozan, Tony Bradley, and Derrick Jones Jr. The players lost this offseason include Lauri Markkanen, Thaddeus Young, Tomáš Satoranský, Daniel Theis, Garrett Temple, Al-Farouq Aminu and Cristiano Felicio. 

The addition of DeRozan and Ball are exciting purely for what it means for the entertainment value and high scoring games we are likely to see this season. Ball’s flashy assists combined with Zach LaVine, known for his high flying dunks, is sure to generate many highlights. DeRozan’s 21.6 points per game make him the second highest scorer on the team behind LaVine, who’s career points per game reads 27.4, just ahead of Vučević, who has a career 23.4 points per game. Games against teams with poor defense at the guard position like the Magic, Cavaliers, and Thunder should be high scoring shutouts with potential for these players to score new career highs. Whether or not they do blow out teams with poor defense, an exciting game to look forward to will be on Jan. 21 when the Bulls play the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks. According to basketball.realgm.com, DeRozan scored his career high against the Bucks on Jan. 1, 2018, dropping 52 points.

Of the new players acquired in the offseason, of note are Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Alex Caruso. ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski reported the details of all three deals. According to Wojnarowski, Lonzo Ball was acquired from the New Orleans Pelicans in a four-year, $85 million sign-and-trade agreement, DeMar DeRozan was acquired in a three-year, $85 million sign-and-trade agreement with the San Antonio Spurs, and free agent Alex Caruso was signed to a four-year, $37 million deal. The Bulls issued official releases for the deals involving Ball and DeRozan on Aug. 8, and officially announced the signing of free agent Alex Caruso on Aug. 10. 

In an article posted on NBC Sports, staff writers shared fan reactions. Many credit the recent transactions to the efforts of new General Manager Marc Eversley and new Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Artūras Karnišovas. The Bulls announced the hiring of Karnišovas and Eversley in April and May 2020, respectively. In an interview on “Waddle and Silvy” on ESPN 1000, and as reported by Chris Rosvoglou of thespun.com, NBA Hall of Famer and analyst Charles Barkley rated the Bulls as having the best offseason of all teams in the NBA, with similar reviews coming from popular sports media outlets such as Bleacher Report and Barstool Sports. Barkley and other analysts have speculated the Bulls will be definite playoff contenders this season. 

Many sports media analysts have speculated on the strengths and weaknesses of the Bulls’ new roster. According to Kevin O’Connor, staff writer for The Ringer, the backcourt scoring load placed on Zach LaVine in previous seasons will now be shared between LaVine, Ball and DeRozan. O’Connor writes the new additions complement LaVine, a high-volume three-point shooter who gets to the basket frequently. O’Connor and others note DeRozan is known for his mid-range offense, while Ball is recognized for his spot-up shooting and ability to facilitate offense. Bulls analyst and freelance writer Stephen Noh writes on his website stephnoh.substack.com that the team has potential defensive gaps, going so far as to say that DeRozan is the worst defensively at his position. Noh and O’Connor both write that Caruso’s defensive ability and high basketball IQ make him a valuable addition. According to analysts including O’Connor and Noh, the projected starting lineup is Lonzo Ball, Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Patrick Williams, and Nikola Vucevic. The raw scoring ability of this lineup alone is expected to be enough for the team to simply out-score opponents and make the team’s playoff hopes almost certain.

This new-look team brings needed excitement and big-name talent to Bulls basketball. The Chicago Bulls are a big market team, and they are finally making moves that reflect that. The team’s offseason moves are seen by many as part of a strategy to keep all-star Zach LaVine by building a winning team around him. Many speculate LaVine now has added incentive to sign an extension this off-season, or accept an extension from the Bulls when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, great teams aren’t based solely on name recognition of players. I look forward to watching how this team performs under head coach Billy Donovan, who was hired as head coach in September 2020. 

Over four seasons in the NBA, Ball is scoring 14.6 points per game, grabbing 4.8 rebounds per game, and dishing out 5.7 assists per game. Over twelve seasons, DeRozan’s stats read 21.6 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game, and 6.9 assists per game. Through four seasons, Caruso’s stats read 6.4 points per game, 2.9 rebounds per game, and 2.8 assists per game. All statistics were obtained from the official website of the NBA.

The Bulls play their first pre-season game vs the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 5. The first regular-season game is against the Detroit Pistons on Oct. 20 and the first home game is Oct. 22 vs. the New Orleans Pelicans.

What is your opinion? Do you have a deeper analysis? Leave comments and let us know!