Bulls offseason grades: Chicago's offseason a mixed bag
Bulls offseason grades: Chicago's offseason a mixed bag
The Chicago Bulls made some significant moves this summer, but there are questions about how all the pieces will fit together.
There are still some loose ends to tie up in the NBA this offseason, but the Chicago Bulls' business is effectively done. The Bulls have 14 players on fully guaranteed deals for 2018-19, with two more partially guaranteed contracts on the roster and Rawle Alkins on a two-way deal. There may be more minor tinkering and a Bobby Portis extension could still be in the cards, but there will be no more meaningful additions. The Bulls did make a handful of significant moves this offseason. They selected two players in the first round of the draft in Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison while Zach LaVine and Jabari Parker got lucrative contracts in free agency. While these acquisitions help set the Bulls up with an intriguing young core, there are questions about how all the parts are going to mesh together. For now, this offseason looks like a mixed bag. Let's examine what happened and hand out grades. ### Drafting Wendell Carter Jr. 7th overall The Bulls' selection of Carter with the No. 7 pick [was lauded as a solid, safe pick](https://www.betchicago.com/nba-draft-2018-bulls-wendell-carter-jr-chandler-hutchison) with a smidge of star upside. [After a terrific Summer League](https://www.betchicago.com/bulls-summer-league-wendell-carter-jr-chandler-hutchison), expectations are already on the rise for the 19-year-old. Carter showed off promising skills on both ends of the floor in Las Vegas, and he even answered some early questions about his flaws. He was arguably the most impressive rookie big man this summer among a strong crop. The big man projects to be a good fit with Lauri Markkanen, giving the Bulls one of the more promising young frontcourts in the NBA. __Grade: A__ __MORE:__ [Bulls have third-lowest win total in NBA](https://www.betchicago.com/nba-season-win-totals-bulls-odds-lakers-warriors) ### Drafting Chandler Hutchison 22nd overall The Hutchison pick wasn't all that inspiring at the time given the rumors of a Bulls promise well before the draft, and his Summer League performance was nothing special. That doesn't mean this was a bad pick, as Hutchison has some skills that could come in handy. He's an improving 3-point shooter and has a 7-foot wingspan, so there's 3-and-D potential here. That "D" could be especially important given the Bulls' lack of wing defenders. Still, Hutchison was a four-year college player and is already 22, meaning the upside may not be quite that high. __Grade: C+__ ### Matching Zach LaVine's 4-year, $78 million offer sheet The Bulls were in a tough spot with LaVine. The 23-year-old played poorly in just 24 games after coming back from a torn ACL, but the Bulls didn't want to let a centerpiece of the Jimmy Butler trade walk after such a limited sample size. LaVine has tantalizing offensive potential, [so it's understandable why the Bulls wanted to keep him](https://www.betchicago.com/bulls-betting-zach-lavine-potential-free-agency). It's not their fault the Sacramento Kings handed him such a lucrative offer sheet, but now the Bulls have to pray LaVine can blossom into a big-time offensive weapon and make his defense at least passable. There's a path to him living up to this contract, but it could just as easily turn into an albatross. The injury protection in the deal makes it slightly more palatable. __Grade: C__ ### Signing Jabari Parker to a 2-year, $40 million deal When the Bulls pulled David Nwaba's qualifying offer, many thought it was the precursor to a move that involved them taking on a bad contract or two and acquiring assets in the process (see: the Nuggets/Nets trade). Instead, the Bulls [worked out a deal with hometown kid Jabari Parker](https://www.betchicago.com/bulls-jabari-parker-nba-free-agency). Parker has torn his ACL twice and projects as an awkward fit at small forward, but he's a talented scorer and still just 23 years old. What really saves this deal is the team option on the second year. It gives the Bulls the ability to cut ties if things don't work out next season, and that could be important given the potential of 2019 free agency. __Grade: C+__ ### Other Antonio Blakeney played on a two-way deal last season, but the Bulls gave him a guaranteed two-year deal thanks to his performance in the G League and Summer League. The second guaranteed year may be a bit excessive, but it's a minimum contract and Blakeney can provide microwave scoring. Ryan Arcidiacono and Antonius Cleveland earned partially guaranteed contracts and will fight for the last roster spot, which is ... fine. Arizona product Rawle Alkins snagged a two-way contract, and he has a bit of 3-and-D potential that could be worth developing. This was a solid move. __Grade: B-__ ### Overall While the Carter pick is looking like a home run (all Summer League caveats apply), the rest of the Bulls' offseason leaves plenty to be desired. The Bulls invested a lot of money in offense-first players with major knee injuries in their very recent past, and while LaVine and Parker bring upside, there's also sizable risk in these deals. Fred Hoiberg will have his hands full as he tries to mold this young core into a successful squad. It would be surprising to see a lot of team success in 2018-19, but the Bulls could take a big step forward if things go right. On the other hand, if things blow up, the Bulls will add another high pick and Hoiberg could be out of a job. __Grade: C+__2018-08-06T14:44:41.224Z2018-08-06T10:45-04:00