With NBA free agency set to start on Thursday, the Chicago Bulls are expected to bring back their top free agent and are setting their sights on a couple of front-court veterans.
The Bulls had a big season in 2021-2022, as the team returned to relevancy after finishing with a 46-36 record. While the year didn’t end as they had hoped after being eliminated in the first round of the NBA Playoffs by their division rivals the Milwaukee Bucks, there is a whole lot of reason to be hopeful about the team’s potential going forward.
However, to maintain the new standard they have set the organization will need to retain the services of two-time All-Star Zach LaVine. The 27-year-old is arguably the best player on the 2022 NBA free-agent market and is looking for a max deal this summer. And it looks like the Bulls are set to give it to him.
On Thursday, NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider KC Johnson reported that LaVine and the organization are expected to soon finalize the details on a new five-year deal that will pay the eight-year veteran around “$215 million”. The Bulls can offer more money and years than any other team in free agency.
Chicago Bulls on a veteran hunt in NBA free agency
Beyond the priority of bringing back LaVine, Johnson also revealed that the Bulls are setting their sights on a pair of front-court targets starting on June 30. The first is 10-year veteran Andre Drummond. The two-time All-Star split time last season between the Brooklyn Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.
The once-formidable center has transitioned into becoming more of a rotational player over the last few seasons and the Bulls are one of several teams that are expected to inquire about the 28-year-old’s asking price. Johnson reports that if “a marriage were to happen, expect a veteran’s minimum salary” to be given to Drummond by the Bulls.
Another name Chicago may jump into the pursuit of is 14-year veteran Danilo Gallinari. Gallinari is not a free agent, however, after being a part of the package that sent Dejounte Murray from the San Antonio Spurs to the Atlanta Hawks, the Italian could be a buyout candidate for the rebuilding Spurs.
If he does become available, Johnson reports the Bulls would be willing to pay Gallinari better than a veteran’s minimum. “If this deal were to happen, it would likely be in the neighborhood of $7-8 million annually for two years. Billy Donovan coached Gallinari in Oklahoma City,” Johnson wrote.