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NBA AM: Headed To Restricted Free Agency?

NBA teams have from the last day of the NBA Finals to June 30th to issue Qualifying Offers – who is likely headed to restricted free agency?… Basketball Insiders predicts whihc young NBA team could make the biggest jump next season.

Steve Kyler



The Notable And Likely Restricted:  Free agency in the NBA comes in two yummy flavors: Unrestricted, where the player is free to choose his next team without regards to his previous team and restricted, everyone’s favorite flavor.

Restricted free agency has become the bane of free agency for players and agents, mainly because it ties up a player’s options. In order to make a player restricted a team must offer what’s called a qualifying offer. For first round draft picks this is a slotted number usually worth between 30 percent and 50 percent of the previous year’s salary based on where the player was drafted. For instance the first overall picks qualifying offer is a 30 percent increase over his previous year, wherein the 30th pick’s qualifying offer is 50 percent greater than his previous year’s salary.

Teams can begin making qualifying offers the day following the last game of the NBA Finals and June 30.

A qualifying offer is an offer for a one-year guaranteed contract, which becomes a regular contract if the player signs it.

In making the offer, the “home” team can match contracts offered by other teams, allowing the marketplace to establish terms and a price.

Here are some of the more notable players likely to be restricted free agents and what their teams are currently thinking in regards to their future:

Avery Bradley – Boston Celtics – $2,511,432 – QO -$3,581,302

The Celtics would like to bring Bradley back, but this one is going to come down to price. If a team gets silly with an offer the Celtics may very well let Bradley walk.

The Celtics value Bradley immensely, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Much like Tyreke Evans last year – a team could poach Bradley out of Boston with a heavy offer, the question becomes how much is too much for him?

Eric Bledsoe – Phoenix Suns – $2,626,474 – QO – $3,726,967

There is almost no scenario in which Eric Bledsoe is not matched by the Phoenix Suns. There have been some that have wondered if the Suns would match a full max contract offer and the answer there is very much yes. The Suns likely will set the bar themselves with an offer simply to move the process along. It’s doubtful that Phoenix set the price at max, which should be just at $15.75 million, but if someone else put that number on the table its highly likely the Suns match it.

Greivis Vasquez – Toronto Raptors – $2,150,188 – QO – $3,203,780

Vasquez would like to return to the Raptors, but he would also like to play a bigger role than he has in Toronto. Vasquez’s offer amount is not silly, so it is very likely Toronto issues it and lets the market dictate what his price should be. The Raptors feel strongly that they’ll get Kyle Lowry signed to a new deal and they have started to look at guards in the draft. There is a chance that Vasquez is sign-and-traded if a real offer comes his way, especially if Lowry re-signs.

Vasquez’s future in Toronto is very much up in the air and is tied directly to that of Lowry. If Lowry re-signs, it’s more likely than not that Vasquez is moved on for a number of reasons. That likely won’t play out until Lowry’s deal gets done, which means the Raptors restrict Vasquez to insure they have options should Lowry walk to another team.

Isaiah Thomas – Sacramento Kings – $884,293 – QO – $2,875,131

This one is tough. The Kings likely issue the offer sheet to give them options, but with the eighth pick they are already looking at point guards. Marcus Smart, Elfrid Payton and Tyler Ennis worked out there just this week. The Kings say they would like to have Thomas back, but there is a belief that if the price gets silly that Sacramento may let him walk much like they did with Tyreke Evans last year.

Thomas has played incredibly well for the Kings, so there is a chance they sign him or match offers if they are within reason, but if someone starts to get into the $9-$10 million per year range the Kings may pass in favor of other options.

For the last two years the Kings have hinted that Thomas is good enough to start for them, but is he good enough to win playoff games? That’s a debate the team has had internally for some time and likely why they are looking at point guards in the draft.

Thomas is a tough one to call. If the price is right the Kings likely keep him, but if the price gets hefty they may go elsewhere.

Kent Bazemore – Los Angeles Lakers – $788,872 – QO – $1,115,243

The Lakers are very high on Bazemore. His offer sheet is very nominal, so it’s expected they will issue it and lock up his rights. It will become interesting if another team offers a multi-year deal. The Lakers likely match it, but if someone starts to nip at the Lakers cap space it is unclear how committed to Bazemore they really are. In 23 games with the Lakers, Bazemore averaged 13 points on 45.1 percent shooting.

The smart money says he’s is back with the Lakers next season, but it seems likely someone will put a multi-year offer on the table even if it’s just something in the $1-2 million per year range.

Gordon Hayward – Utah Jazz – $3,452,183 – QO – $4,677,708

The Jazz are saying Hayward will be back. The question really becomes at what price? Hayward will get the qualifying offer and the Jazz will likely match whatever he gets offered in free agency. The question is will anyone test the Utah’s threshold of pain and offer silly money.

They say the most expensive players to obtain are someone else’s players and in this case anyone that wants Hayward is going to have to overpay for him. It’s believed the Jazz put a $8-$9 million per year extension offer on the table last summer for Hayward, so will he command more than $10 million per year on the open market?

The Jazz say they will match and Hayward will be back.

Jordan Crawford – Golden State Warriors – $2,162,419 – QO – $3,206,867

This one will be interesting because Crawford isn’t considered a high dollar player. His $3.2 million qualifying offer isn’t crazy money and it would give the Warriors the right to match offers, but at what price does Crawford become unreasonable?

In 42 games with the Warriors Crawford wasn’t exactly electric averaging just 8.4 points on 41.7 percent shooting from the field. Crawford started the final game of the season and knocked in 41 points, so he has scoring potential, but is that worth much more than he was earning last season?

Three years and $8-$10 million seems like the right number for what Crawford is as a player, will he command more than that and will Golden State match it if he does?

Evan Turner – Indiana Pacers – $6,679,867 – QO – $8,717,226

Pacers president Larry Bird sounds resigned to the idea that Evan Turner will be playing somewhere else during exit interviews. Considering his offer value is $8.7 million, it seems unlikely that the Pacers issue that, although they might, but again it seems unlikely.

Turner was not exceptional in his time with the Pacers, averaging 7.1 points per game in 27 games, reverting to more of what he looked like in Philly over the last two years. It will be interesting to see what the market place for the former second overall pick really is.

It’s doubtful that Turner lands a deal paying much more than he earned last year, the question is with Lance Stephenson headed to unrestricted free agency do the Pacers really let Turner walk or do they risk picking up his offer as insurance in case Stephenson bolts? The Pacers would have to make that decision on the offer sheet before they known what’s real with Stephenson.

Greg Monroe – Detroit Pistons – $4,086,454 – QO – $5,479,935

The Pistons continue to say that Greg Monroe is not going anywhere, that a new deal for him is very likely and that they would match offers if it gets to that point. Monroe’s offer value isn’t at all crazy and the Pistons have the flexibility to match Monroe all the way to the max. The question is will anyone really put a $15.75 million first year offer on the table for him?

There is a reality to a max offer sheet. It’s easy to say you would match it, but would the Pistons really do it? New president Stan Van Gundy says he’s watched enough tape to know that he can make a Monroe and Andre Drummond pairing work on offense. It’s the defensive side where the conflicts emerge, but Van Gundy believes if both players buy in, it would be a strength for the team not a weakness.

There is little doubt that Monroe is the top player likely to hit restricted free agency. The question is does he really get a max offer and will the Pistons really match it?

Patrick Patterson – Toronto Raptors – $3,105,301 – QO – $4,319,474

The Raptors credit their swing to the playoffs to their much improved bench this season. After trading Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings the Raptors got a handful of bench players in return that really changed the complexion of the team and while Patterson didn’t play a huge role, he is considered a valuable asset for the Raptors.

The question for Patterson is his offer, $4.3 million seems like his range. So do the Raptors issue it and see what the market brings back or do they simply try and work out a deal in that kind of price range?

Keeping Patterson seems like a smart move, the question becomes how much and does it happen after a trip through restricted free agency.

Ed Davis – Memphis Grizzlies – $3,153,860 – QO – $4,361,788

The Grizzlies have invested a lot into Ed Davis, but the question becomes how much is he worth on a new deal? It is very likely the Grizz issue the $4.3 million offer, if only to have the ability to match an offer. The Grizz are hoping to get a new deal done with Zach Randolph, which might make Davis’ value to the team significantly lower than maybe it already is.

Davis logged few minutes in the regular season and almost nothing in the postseason, even when Randolph was suspended. Davis had a few bright spot games, but hardly the body of work to believe he’ll get a major offer.

The Grizz under previous leadership really liked Ed, but it seems if he gets expensive for some reason they may pass on him in favor of someone who might be able to contribute.

This one will be interesting to watch, because Davis might be obtainable.

Kevin Seraphin – Washington Wizards – $2,761,114 – QO – $3,898,693

Seraphin has had some moments, the problem this year was he was parked behind far better players and rarely saw meaningful minutes. With a $3.8 million offer value, it’s almost worth issuing because he has shown some promise at times with the Wizards, especially with the uncertain future of Marcin Gortat.

The smart money say Seraphin gets the offer and the Wizards try and work out a reasonable deal. There may be some outside value, mainly because he is a 6’10 big that can score and he might be had fairly cheap.

Washington has said they would like to keep their core together, but it’s unclear how much they would pay Seraphin, especially if others get involved in the bidding process.

Trevor Booker – Washington Wizards – $2,350,820 – QO – $3,420,443

Much like Seraphin there have been times this year where Booker was pretty solid. With a $3.4 million offer, it’s almost worth issuing just to see if he can be retained fairly inexpensively.

Booker played extended minutes in April and was very productive for the Wiz. With ownership wanting to keep the core together it seems likely that Booker is back, although much like Seraphin, if the pricing starts to get silly, the Wiz may think twice.

Ekpe Udoh – Milwaukee Bucks – $4,469,548 – QO – $5,962,377

Given how committed the Bucks are to John Henson and how much cash they have committed to Larry Sanders and veteran Zaza Pachulia, it seems unlikely that Udoh will get the $5.9 million Offer that it would take to restrict him.

Udoh has had tons of injuries in his NBA career which makes it doubtful there is a huge push for him in free agency.

The smart money says the Bucks move on and Udoh is an unrestricted free agent. There simply isn’t a body of work to justify a $5.9 million offer and the Bucks really have plenty of options at his position under contract and may pick up a few more in the NBA Draft.

As a general rule of process most teams with cap flexibility match offers, simply to avoid losing a valuable asset. If a team matches a contract offer they cannot trade that player for one calendar year without that player’s consent. Teams have three days to match a signed offer sheet.

Players are under no obligation to sign an offer sheet from a team unless they want to play there. Equally, once a player signs an offer sheet the “home” team can either match or decline. Prior to physically signing an offer, the player can notify the “home” team of intent to sign and try and negotiate a sign and trade if the terms are way out of line, although a player is under no obligation to do that.

At any point in the process the home team can withdraw the qualifying offer and make the player unrestricted.

If you are curious about how the Rookie Scale Contract system maps out here are the slotted years through the 2017-2018 NBA Draft Class.

What Young NBA Teams Seems Poised To Improve?:  Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler, Lang Greene, Jessica Camerato, Alex Kennedy and Yannis Koutroupis debate which NBA teams could make the biggest jump next season.

Don’t agree? Make the case for your team in the comment section below.

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NBA Daily: The Golden State Warriors Need to Enter Rest Mode

With a bevy of injuries to their stars, the Golden State Warriors should rest up the remainder of the regular season to avoid any playoff letdowns.

Dennis Chambers



After a three-year-long run of dominating the NBA, the Golden State Warriors are showing some cracks in their armor.

Granted, those cracks aren’t a result of a botched system or poor play, but rather the injury bug biting the team in full force as they come down the regular season stretch.

First, it was Steph Curry and the ankle that’s bothered him all season — and for most of his career — when he tweaked it yet again on March 8 against the San Antonio Spurs. Golden State announced he would miss at least four games. Then it was Klay Thompson, who fractured his thumb three days later against the Minnesota Timberwolves — he’ll miss at least two weeks.

Now it’s Kevin Durant. Last year’s Finals MVP suffered an incomplete rib cartilage fracture and was ruled out of Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings. Durant is expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks. The Warriors would go on to lose that contest 95-93.

In about two weeks time, the Warriors went from having one of the most formidable offenses and scoring trios in the entire league, to having  Quinn Cook and Nick Young logging starter minutes.

Luckily for the Warriors, they’ve built up a big enough lead in the standings to achieve a 52-17 record, good for second place in the Western Conference. But the issue for the remainder of the season now becomes how healthy will the Warriors be come playoff time?

Curry and Durant have injury histories. Curry particularly has been bothered by this ankle since he entered the league. Without either of them, the Warriors — while still incredibly talented — will be on a completely even playing field with the Houston Rockets, and possibly other teams in the gauntlet that will be the Western Conference playoffs.

The bigger issue on top of the pending injury concerns becomes whether the Warriors should just pack it in for the rest of the regular season, and regroup for another expected title run.

Steve Kerr doesn’t seem to be thinking that way, however.

“All these injuries seem to be temporary,” Kerr told reporters. “A couple weeks, a week, two weeks – whatever. We’re in good shape. We’ve just got to survive this next slate of games and hopefully, start getting guys back and get rolling again for the playoffs.”

That’s true. None of the aforementioned injuries seem to be anything more serious than a few weeks of rest and relaxation. But that’s assuming the best case scenario for these players.

Should we assume that the Warriors are without their scoring trio for the next couple of weeks as their health updates have indicated, that would put their return roughly around April 1. At that time, Golden State would have six games remaining on their schedule. Four coming against playoff teams (Oklahoma City, Indiana, New Orleans, and Utah) with the other two games against Phoenix.

After missing the last few weeks on the court, with injuries that most likely won’t be at 100 percent, tossing their most valuable contributors back into the fray against a slate of playoff teams probably isn’t the smartest idea.

At this point, the Warriors postseason position is locked up. They likely won’t take the top seed away from Houston, and their lead is big enough to keep their second seed intact regardless of who’s on the court. The only thing left now is the determining who Golden State will play in the first round. With the revolving carousel that is the playoff standings out West, that’s anybody’s guess right now.

The only thing that’s certain is whichever team coming into Oracle Arena for that first round will be battle tested and talented based off of the dogfight they had to survive just to make the playoffs. The last thing the Warriors need to be is a banged up in a postseason with their first opponent smelling blood in the water.

In all likelihood, the Warriors — should everything go according to plan — will play the Houston Rockets for a chance to return to their fourth straight NBA Finals. Only this time, a potential Game 7 won’t be at Oracle Arena. It will be in downtown Houston, at the Toyota Center.

An advantage as big as the Warriors’ homecourt can never be understated. Operating in a do-or-die situation away from home will be newfound territory for this bunch. Regardless of talent or team success, at that point, it’s anybody’s game.

It won’t be easy for the Golden State Warriors as they try to extend their dynasty’s reign. This might be their most difficult year yet.

Durant, in his own words, can’t even laugh right now without feeling pain. The league’s only unanimous MVP is operating on one and a half ankles, and the team’s second Splash Brother has an injury on his shooting hand.

Resting up the team’s stars should be the team’s top priority right now, at risk of entering the postseason hobbled. Track record means nothing if the Warriors don’t have their full arsenal at disposal when the games matter most.

Hey, a 16-seed finally won a first-round game in the NCAA Tournament. Anything is possible on a basketball court, and the Warriors should do everything possible to ensure they’re not the next major upset candidate in line.

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Fixing The Detroit Pistons

David Yapkowitz looks at how the fading Pistons can turn things around moving forward.

David Yapkowitz



We wrap this week up with another installment of our “Fixing” series here at Basketball Insiders. The next team up is the Detroit Pistons.

The Pistons came into this season with playoff aspirations after a disappointing 2016-17 campaign that saw them regress instead of building on their playoff appearance the season before. To begin the season, they looked like they were on their way to accomplishing that objective. Then Reggie Jackson got hurt and the season began spiraling out of control.

They tried to inject some life into the team by trading for Blake Griffin, but it hasn’t worked out as expected. The Pistons have gone 8-12 since acquiring Griffin and the postseason looks like a pipe dream at this point.

What Is Working

Not a whole lot. Despite trading for a superstar player, the Pistons have tumbled down to the point where playoffs are looking extremely unlikely.

If there’s one thing that’s a welcome sight, it’s the bounce back of Andre Drummond. After being named to his first All-Star team in 2015-16, Drummond had a bit of a let down the following season. This season, he was once again an All-Star while putting up career-highs in rebounds (15.7) and assists (3.2). Drummond is still only 24 years old and has his best basketball years ahead of him.

The Pistons have also received encouraging signs from rookie Luke Kennard. A lottery pick in last summer’s draft, Kennard he’s been one of the few bright spots at times for the Pistons. About a week ago, his playing time had diminished some and he racked up a few DNP’s, but Stan Van Gundy has since reinserted him into the rotation.

They’ve also gotten solid production out of Reggie Bullock. When Bullock came over to the Pistons in a trade with the Phoenix Suns almost three years ago, he was little more than a seldom-used wing with the potential to become a solid 3&D guy. This has been his year, however. He’s the best shooter on the team at 43.5 percent from the three-point line. His numbers, 10.8 points per game and 49.1 percent shooting from the field, are career-highs.

What Needs To Change

Quite a bit. Acquiring Griffin was a move the Pistons needed to make. On the verge of losing control of the season, they needed to make a move to try and turn things around. It’s been a disaster thus far, however. They are 2-8 in their last 10 games and although they’re in ninth place, they’re falling farther and farther away from eighth.

Who the Pistons are really missing is Reggie Jackson. Ish Smith, who has proven himself beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is an NBA player, just isn’t Jackson. They desperately need Jackson’s playmaking abilities to help take the pressure off everyone else. Even if he returns this season, it’s already too late. The Pistons need to focus on getting him healthy and ready for next season.

The Pistons also need to improve their offense. They’re in the bottom half of the league in both points per game (25th) and offensive rating (24th). A big part of that is Jackson’s absence, but they could also benefit from additional outside shooting. Right now they have one long-range threat on the roster and that’s Bullock.

Focus Area: The Draft

To make matters worse, the Pistons will likely give up their draft pick to the Los Angeles Clippers as part of the Griffin trade. The only way the Clippers wouldn’t acquire the Pistons’ pick this year is if it falls in the top four, and that’s not going to happen.

The Pistons will have a second-round pick though. The draft is never 100 percent guaranteed, and the second round is even more of a crapshoot, but talented players can definitely be found. That’s what the Pistons’ main objective in the draft should be. It sounds silly, but they truly need to buckle down and do their homework in hopes of finding that one overlooked guy in the second round. That’s pretty much all they have to look forward to come draft night.

Focus Area: Free Agency

The Pistons are going to have a couple of minor decisions to make this summer regarding their free agents. Jameer Nelson, James Ennis, and Anthony Tolliver are all unrestricted free agents. Out of the three, Ennis has given the team the best on-court production, but it isn’t necessary that any of them are brought back.

Bullock and Dwight Buycks have non-guaranteed contracts, and those are the two guys that the Pistons should work towards bringing back in the fold. Both should have their contracts guaranteed for the following season. Bullock is their only three-point threat. Buycks began the season as a two-way contract player splitting time between the Pistons and the Grand Rapids Drive of the G-League. He’s since been converted to a standard NBA contract and has done enough to earn his spot on the team next year.

In terms of adding new players to the roster, as mentioned before, the Pistons need outside shooting. Marco Belinelli and Wayne Ellington are possible options that the Pistons might be able to afford. Joe Harris is another option, but it will be interesting to see what the market is for him after the strong season he’s been having in Brooklyn.

It’s tough to gauge the Pistons’ true potential without Jackson. If he returns before the season ends, it will be too small a sample size to accurately assess the team. There are only 14 games left. Although things look pretty bleak right now, it can’t be argued that injuries haven’t played a big role in the Pistons disappointing season.

The team deserves a shot at seeing how a healthy Jackson, Griffin, and Drummond trio looks on the court together. If they start off next season the same way despite all three being healthy and in the lineup, then it would be time for serious changes.

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Fixing The Chicago Bulls

Spencer Davies says the Bulls have a long way to go, but they’re taking steps forward. In year one without the former face of the franchise, that’s about all they can ask for.

Spencer Davies



Next up on Basketball Insiders’ “fixing” series is a stop in the Windy City.

In spite of the criticisms over last summer’s Jimmy Butler trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, it feels like the Chicago Bulls at least have a sense of direction. Many members of the media—including this one—expected them to finish dead last in the NBA, yet they have 23 wins, with seven other teams worse off.

Obviously, the goal for the organization this season was to establish an identity and see what they had with their new cornerstone pieces. To a good extent, there’s optimism regarding those players because of the potential they’ve shown.

There’s still a good chunk of the year left, but the Bulls are 12th in the Eastern Conference standings with 15 games to go.

What Is Working

If it weren’t for the spectacular seasons by Donovan Mitchell and Ben Simmons, Chicago stretch big man Lauri Markkanen might be the Rookie of the Year. Even with some second-half struggles, the entire body of work is impressive.

The 7-foot Finnish forward continues to stay aggressive with a high usage and great mentality in snatching up those boards. It’s normal for a first-year player to go through those ups and downs. Add in a back injury that’s been bothering him as of late and the slump make a little more sense. Markkanen has shown the skill and consistent effort that it takes to be a mainstay in this league.

Bobby Portis is another member of the frontcourt who’s made a noticeable impact off the Bulls’ bench. In his third year, you can see the confidence continue to grow as a versatile offensive threat with a ton of touches. He’s taken a responsibility upon himself to lead the second unit and the proof is in the pudding. According to Cleaning The Glass, the team is a net plus-11.5 per 100 possessions with him on the court.

Second-year swingman Denzel Valentine has filled the stat sheet in multiple games as one of the most unselfish players on the roster. David Nwaba’s role from the beginning was to be a defensive menace and he’s come through for the majority of the year. Even two-way contract rookie Antonio Blakeney has shown flashes as a volume scorer in stretches.

Recently, Chicago has given a couple of cast-offs opportunities to display their skills. In 10 games, Cameron Payne looks as comfortable as he has in quite some time coming off a major foot injury. Noah Vonleh has been an effective late addition playing next to Portis and filling in for Markkanen. Let’s not forget that these two were lottery picks and are still in their early 20s.

What Needs To Change

Looking at what Kris Dunn and Zach LaVine have done, it’s been a mixed bag. With that being said, there’s clearly untapped potential between the both of them.

Dunn proved in very little time that the narrative of him being a lost cause was far from the truth. Hoiberg’s trust in him to be Chicago’s floor general has gone a long way. He’s been in attack mode with the ball in his hands, has seen his outside game get better and has been bothersome with his length defensively. It hasn’t resulted in wins, but remember—it’s this group’s first season together.

As for LaVine, it’s difficult to judge where a player is using a 23-game sample size. Yes, it’s a good amount of playing time, but let’s not forget he’s coming off a devastating left ACL tear. His defense has been subpar, but the bounce seems to still be there. The jumper is on and off, but he hasn’t been bashful at all. Starting the year off fresh in 2018-19 will benefit him.

Speaking of next season, the goal for the front office of Gar Forman and John Paxson should be simple—get younger. Currently, Robin Lopez is the highest paid player on the Bulls and he’ll have one year left on his deal going into the summer. The same applies to Justin Holiday. These are two veterans who could contribute on teams ready to win now, and it would be logical to part ways considering the direction the franchise is going.

Focus Area: The Draft

Due to the Nikola Mirotic trade on February 1st, Chicago acquired a first-round draft pick from the New Orleans Pelicans. That gives them two chances to add to their young talent pool in the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft.

Typically you’d go with the best player available when you’re slotted in the top ten, but the Bulls should feel good about their backcourt and the power forward position. What they really are lacking are reliable shooters and perimeter defenders, as well as a player with a bulldog mentality.

Chicago doesn’t get to the free throw nearly enough and they don’t convert looks that they should. Considering a true wing is amiss, it’d be the ideal scenario for Michael Porter Jr. to fall right into their lap. The Missouri freshman just returned after missing basically the entire season with a back injury. He was a top name coming into the class because of his size and could be a steal with the eighth selection.

If Porter Jr. doesn’t make it to them, Miles Bridges would make for a heck of a consolation prize. Unlike Porter, he has a more muscular frame at 6-foot-7, 230 pounds that allows him to bully the opposition. There’s a relentless nature and fearlessness about him that will translate to the next level.

Using that Pelicans pick, the Bulls would be happy to see Duke sharpshooter Gary Trent Jr. fall to them in the early-to-mid 20s, but that seems more unlikely with Anthony Davis continuing to carry New Orleans to new heights. If they end up selecting towards to the back end of the first round, Arizona junior guard Allonzo Trier could end up being a good fit as well.

Focus Area: Free Agency

Entering the summer, Chicago doesn’t have too many decisions to make on the contract front.

The trade exception from the Butler deal expires on June 22nd. If it’s not used by then, the amount will be renounced if the team goes under the salary cap. The deadline to present Noah Vonleh and David Nwaba a qualifying offer is June 29th.

Everybody’s going to keep an eye on LaVine because of restricted free agency, but the Bulls have indicated they prefer him to be a part of their core. They’ll in all likelihood look to bring him back on a long-term contract. If he doesn’t approve of the terms, he can always choose to play on his qualifying offer and bet on himself.

Chicago has to decide whether or not to guarantee Paul Zipser’s $1.5 million salary for next season by July 18th. The extension deadline for Payne, Portis, and Grant is the day before the first day of the 2018 campaign and team option deadlines for Dunn and Markannen come on Halloween.

There probably won’t be too much activity on the Bulls’ part regarding free agency. The focus will lay on improving their young core and getting guys who are just getting on the upswing in the pros. There are talents out there who fit the bill. It just all depends on what comes from the draft.

All in all, Chicago has a long way to go to get back into the postseason conversation, but they’re taking steps forward. In year one without the former face of the franchise, that’s about all you can ask for.

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