“You can’t win the championship with this team.” Chicago has done devastating stupidity
This year, “Chicago” intends to create a stir in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls were very active in the transfer market during the offseason. The team already has the main star – Zach Lavigne. He had the best season of his career, played in his first All-Star Game, and in the summer he became the Olympic champion with the US national team. And in “Chicago” they are ready to build a team around him. In the spring to the aid of the Avalanche get Nikola Vučević , and in the offseason have spent a few more high-profile exchanges. “Bulls” did not spare money for contracts, but in the next couple of years, such “generosity” may backfire on them. The Bulls have already felt the effect in part, releasing limited free agent Lauri Markkanen to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In the offseason, promising Lonzo Ball was the first to join the team . This is a quality point guard with high playing IQ and strong defensive skills. He averaged 15 points per game last season. It’s a good signing, especially for Zach Avalanche. However, Ball was given a four-year contract and $ 80 million. An obvious overpayment for a performer who is not very confident about throwing from beyond the arc. Especially taking into account other expenses, driving the club into a very difficult financial situation.
Overpaid “bulls” not only to Ball. So the exchange of Demar DeRozan from San Antonio under the “sign-and-trade” scheme cost Chicago prohibitively expensive. Demara was given away Thaddeus Young and Al-Farouk Amin , as well as a defended pick in the first round of the 2025 draft and two picks in the second round in 2022 and 2025. The player himself will receive $ 85 million in three years. Why such a scale in terms of finance is unclear. DeRozan had few options to pursue a career in the free agency market. Lakers didn’t need him after signing Russell Westbrook, and they were ready to offer him a minimum contract or so. The Clippers, for example, could not have issued more than $ 5.3 million on a mid-level exclusion. Chicago’s offer was probably the largest DeMar received. In the end, he chose the money and, obviously, was right. The same cannot be said about the Bulls. DeRozan’s contract will certainly add to the list of “non-exchangeable”.
Derozan is 32 years old. In addition to age, he has two serious problems – he does not know how to play defense and throw three-pointers. In addition, Demaru constantly needs the ball, which can negatively affect the effectiveness of the same Avalanche in attack. At the same time, Derozan cannot cope with the role of playmaker and cannot lead the attack. However, like Lavigne and Vuchevich. And in defense, their trio is a disaster. In general, more problems than benefits are expected from DeRozan on the site. “San Antonio” seemed to have thrown the mountain off his shoulders, parting with Demar. For some reason, the Bulls did not skimp on the player’s contract, which was not quoted on the market at all. Demar has a name that he made with the Toronto Raptors. Although even in the Canadian club there were constant failures in the playoffs, and the Spurs, led by DeMar, have not been able to reach the playoffs at all over the past two seasons.
Alex CarusoChicago overpaid too. Not on a critical scale, but the fact remains. He’s a strong RPG player with decent defensive skills, but $ 37 million over four years is a bit too much for him. Especially when you consider that the place in the payment of the club remains end-to-end. And next year, the Bulls will face an extremely important and no less financially costly task – to extend the Avalanche. This summer, he could be re-signed for four years with a salary of $ 105 million. But the player, apparently, is counting on a more impressive amount and will wait for the end of the contract. If in the upcoming season he gets into the symbolic five, he will be able to qualify for the “super-maximum” – $ 235 million in five years. If not, then the player will have access to a maximum agreement of $ 200+ million. Expensive? Yes. Even too expensive. But “Chicago” seems to have nowhere to go, because you don’t want to lose the main star of the team. But whether Lavigne himself will agree to the extension … We will see that. Probably yes. Other clubs cannot offer such a generous salary.
What we end up with: overpayments for average players, overloaded payments, spent picks. And for what? So that next season, at best, just go to the playoffs in the East. With the current line-up, “Chicago” cannot claim for more. The Bulls roster certainly looks stronger than last year. But this team is unlikely to count on at least two winning streaks in the postseason. And the finances to somehow improve the situation in the future, “Chicago” will no longer have. The mere potential re-signing of Avalanche promises a forced sale of players, a luxury tax and other unpleasant things, and DeRozan’s contract will hang on the team for three years. Ball and Vucevic are players with no playoff success story.
The club tried to strengthen itself. This was partially done. But at what cost – the “bulls” risk remaining in the status of the league’s middle peasant for years to come. Complete failure is not excluded. Head coach Billy Donovan must mold a competitive team from a dubious group of performers, many of which are incompatible with each other and do not meet the requirements of the modern NBA. For another year, he named “Chicago” was considered a perestroika team. Lithuanian Arturas Karnishovastook over as head of the front office and immediately decided that it was necessary to solve high problems. But all the moves of “Chicago” under his leadership are destructive stupidity. The exchange of Vucevic before the 2021 deadline did not lead to the expected exit to the playoffs. It is unlikely that there will be a global leap after the transfers of DeRozan, Ball and Caruso. Perhaps the team will miss the playoffs altogether. But if it does go there, it will most likely do it with a low seeding number and will be eliminated in the first round from real contenders like the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers or Milwaukee Bucks.
Legendary Shaquille O’Neill very sensibly assessed the prospects of the updated “Chicago” in the season 2021/2022.
Chicago will try to work like the Golden State. Four “little ones”, they will stretch the defense, shoot, run, Zach Lavigne will shoot three-pointers, Lonzo Ball will try to involve everyone, it will be an experiment. I wish Chicago good luck with their experiment, I hope everything goes well, but … The championship with this team cannot be won, “O’Neill said.
The Bulls are indeed very far from the level of the champion team of the times of Michael Jordan. Even the competitiveness of the early last decade, led by Derrick Rose, is unlikely to shine for the Illinois club. But Karnisovas immediately after the appointment said that the goal of the team is to win the title. He will likely be disappointed in the coming years.