The Bulls are clearing cap space for… something.
Maybe Jabari Parker?
Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago:
The Bulls are about $20 million below the salary cap. The Bucks are about $15 million below the hard cap.
This appears to be shaping up to an offer sheet that would require Milwaukee to make significant moves to match.
The Bucks probably wouldn’t go to that effort. They triggered the hard cap by signing Ersan Ilyasova knowing it might mean losing Parker, and Parker has been an awkward fit in Milwaukee. He somewhat clashes with Giannis Antetokounmpo, who – for what it’s worth – expressed a desire to retain Parker, anyway.
I’m hardly convinced Parker fits better with Lauri Markkanen in Chicago. Neither can defend the rim, and Parker has only barely flashed sound defense (not a strength of Markkanen’s either, though he’s far less proven). They would pair nicely offensively with their high skill levels, Markkanen more of a deep shooter and Parker capable from all areas of the floor.
Parker’s injury history is scary anywhere, though.
That same concern didn’t stop the Bulls from matching Zach LaVine‘s offer sheet. It might not keep them from trying to pry Parker, either.
That’d be welcome news for Parker, a Chicago native who has seemingly gained little traction with other teams in restricted free agency.
The Timberwolves offered Jimmy Butler the largest-allowed extension this summer. It would’ve paid:
- 2019-20: $24,534,935
- 2020-21: $26,497,730
- 2021-22: $28,460,524
- 2022-23: $30,423,319
- Total: $109,916,508 ($27,479,127 average annual salary).
If Butler plays out the season and opts out, he could re-sign for a projected $190 million over five years (about $38 million annually). Even if he opts out to leave, he could get a projected $141 million over four years (about $35 million annually).
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN:
It probably just wasn’t enough money. Butler is worth a max contract when healthy.
He’ll also turn 29 before the upcoming season and has shown significant wear and tear while playing big minutes for Tom Thibodeau in Chicago and Minnesota. I’d be leery of paying Butler big money into his 30s.
But he’s probably correct to bet on at least one team being enamored with him in what should be a looser market next summer. He also might not want to lock into playing with Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns and without Kyrie Irving.
The 76ers’ Dario Saric and Wizards’ Tomas Satoransky each said they wanted to avoid LeBron James in the playoffs – and both got their wish. Philadelphia and Washington got eliminated before facing LeBron’s Cavaliers.
Celtics forward Jaylen Brown is taking a different approach with LeBron leaving Cleveland for the Lakers.
Brown, via Tom Westerholm of MassLive:
“To be honest, I wanted him to stay,” Brown said. “I was kind of mad, I wanted to be the team to go through him. I feel like we could have had it last year, but we fell a little bit short. But I applaud someone doing what’s best for him. He did what’s best for him in that situation. I wanted him to stay in the East. People say, I don’t like when people say ‘Now that LeBron’s gone, y’all are the favorite.’ That irks me. A lot of us, we feel the same, because we feel that whether he was there or wasn’t there, we was coming out.”
LeBron has looked back fondly on his rivalry with the Celtics during his first Cleveland tenure and time with the Heat. It was just beginning to reignite. The Cavs swept Boston in the 2015 first round, beat Boston 4-1 in the 2017 Eastern Conference finals then escaped Boston 4-3 in the 2018 conference finals.
The younger Celtics would have eventually overtaken Cleveland, even if LeBron had stayed, but this hastens their ascent. Boston will battle the 76ers (and maybe others) for Eastern Conference supremacy, but the road is far clearer with LeBron gone.
Yet, Brown opposes in a commendable display of competitiveness. That’s part of what makes him such a promising player.
But I bet he’ll still appreciate all the winning the Celtics do with LeBron in Los Angeles.
After drafting point guard Trae Young, the Hawks said they’d keep incumbent starting point guard Dennis Schroder.
But Atlanta trading for another point guard, Jeremy Lin, has blown the lid off that obvious ruse.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
However, the deal for Lin probably will expedite a Schroder trade this summer, league sources said.
Schroder would probably welcome a trade at this point.
But who will take him? He’s due $46.5 million over the next three years and also faces the prospect of felony battery charge. He’s talented and just 24, but that’s a lot to swallow.
I wouldn’t have been surprised if Atlanta just stuck Schroder deep on the bench behind the better Lin and more promising Young. But it appears an actual Schroder trade is forthcoming.
David Nwaba‘s excellent athleticism, impressive motor and passable 3-point shooting have turned the 25-year-old shooting guard into a rotation-level player. The Bulls might like to keep him long-term, but he at least would’ve provided value on his qualifying offer next season.
Yet, Chicago is pulling that $1,712,601 qualifying offer.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Why would Chicago do this? I see two possibilities:
1. Nwaba has agreed to an offer sheet the Bulls wouldn’t match, and as a favor to him, they’re preemptively pulling the qualifying offer to expedite his exit.
2. Chicago is preparing for a larger trade or signing that requires Nwaba’s cap hold to be removed.
My guess is No. 2, especially because the Bulls also dumped Jerian Grant (in a three-way trade with the Magic and Hornets).
We’ll see what’s next for Nwaba, who becomes an unrestricted free agent. Probably more significantly, we’ll see what’s next for Chicago.