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Ranking 8 buyout market candidates for the Chicago Bulls

Will Gottlieb Avatar
February 11, 2024

Another NBA Trade Deadline has come and gone with the Chicago Bulls electing to opt out of involvement. With that said, the Arturas Karnisovas has been active on the buyout market in each of the last two seasons. Will he do it again? Do the Bulls have the cap room to pull it off?

The Bulls currently have one open roster spot with the remaining Mid-Level Exception ($6.2 million), Bi-Annual Exception ($4.5 million) and Disabled Player Exception ($10.2 million) at their disposal. Karnisovas has been active on the buyout market in each of the previous two seasons, picking up Tristan Thompson in 2022 and Patrick Beverley in 2023. History tells us an additional veteran may be on the roster before the end of the season.

Though the Bulls could use up to $8.7 million (the remaining space until the first apron, where they are hard capped) they will likely max out at $1.7 million, their current distance to the luxury tax.

The buyout market is typically stacked with aging vets leaving their incumbent teams in search of high-level competition. Even if they help the Bulls finish 14-9 or better to end the season, this caliber of player is not going to be a meaningful upgrade. These fringe moves are just that — fringe moves. The time to make meaningful upgrades was the deadline.

Still, here are eight players the Bulls could go for, ranked in order of my preference.

Furkan Korkmaz

Bio: 6’7 wing, age 26

Key Stats: 2.5 points, 0.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, -4.8 EPM (11th percentile), 8.6 minutes per game in 35 games played

Percentages: 39.5 field goal percentage (FG%), 35 three-point percentage (3PT%), 70.0 free throw percentage (FT%), 48.7 effective field goal percentage (eFG%)

Noted Bulls killer Furkan Korkmaz has been out of the Philadelphia 76ers rotation for the majority of the season, playing just 8.6 minutes per game. But as a long, shooting wing in his mid-20s, Korkmaz makes a lot of sense for the Bulls near and long-term.

Killian Hayes

Bio: 6’5 point guard, age 22

Key Stats: 6.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists, -3.5 EPM (25th percentile), 24 minutes per game in 42 games played

Percentages: 41.3 FG%, 29.7 3PT%, 66 FT%, 45.2 eFG%

Hayes is not a good basketball player. He cannot shoot at all. He was waived on his rookie contract by the worst team in the NBA.

Still, he’s a lottery level talent, and the Bulls are not in a position to pass on upside. Though he would likely not contribute to the team’s goals of competitive play this season, an upside swing like Hayes could be worthwhile.

Peter Patton, work your magic.

Evan Fournier

Bio: 6’6 wing, age 31

Key Stats: 4.0 points, 1.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 13 minutes per game in three games played

Percentages: 20 FG%, 13.3 3PT%, 100 FT%, 25 eFG%

Nikola Vucevic was happy for his former Orlando Magic teammate to gain freedom after being exiled from Tom Thibodeau’s rotation with the New York Knicks. Unfortunately for his friend, he ended up with the Pistons.

Fournier has yet to be bought out, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that happens soon, and a reunion with Vucevic makes some sense. The Bulls need shooting, size and shot creation and Fournier proved he can still do all three this past summer in the World Cup, where he averaged 13.8 points per game.

Fournier also overlapped with Karnisovas in Denver in 2013, an added layer to a potential partnership.

Marcus Morris

Bio: 6’8 forward, age 34

Key Stats: 6.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, -4.1 EPM (18th percentile), 17.2 minutes per game in 37 games played

Percentages: 43.9 FG%, 40 3PT%, 86.1 FT%, 52.7 eFG%

Morris is a burly four slash small-ball five that would give the Bulls a different look they could go to in their push to remain competitive. His attitude and energy would be a change from the rest of the Bulls locker room, which could go one way or the other.

Danilo Gallinari

Bio: 6’10 power forward, age 35

Key Stats: 7.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.3 assists, -1.9 EPM (45th percentile), 14.8 minutes per game in 32 games played (26 with Washington Wizards, 6 with Detroit Pistons)

Percentages: 45.1 FG%, 35.5 3PT%, 85 FT%, 53.9 eFG%

Gallinari was reportedly a free agent target for the Bulls in the 2022 offseason before signing with the Boston Celtics and tearing his ACL.

He’s a bit old and a bit washed, but extra floor spacing at the power forward position would really help open up the floor for DeMar DeRozan’s mid-range work. If the Bulls insist on running more of their twin towers look with Vucevic and Andre Drummond, there may not be need for him or that archetype of player.

Danuel House

Bio: 6’6 wing, age 30

Key Stats: 4.2 points, 1.7 rebounds, 0.8 assists, -3.5 EPM (25th percentile), 15 minutes per game in 34 games played

Percentages: 44.8 FG%, 30 3PT%, 76.1 FT%, 51.9 eFG%

A quintessential Daryl Morey nep0-baby, House is a 3-and-D wing who is mostly just a defender at this point. Still, he would be useful of the Bulls could incorporate him into their thin wing rotation.

Joe Harris

Bio: 6’6 wing, age 32

Key Stats: 2.4 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.6 assists, -6.0 EPM (4th percentile), 10.6 minutes per game in 16 games played

Percentages: 35.6 FG%, 33.3 3PT%, 50 FT%, 48.7 eFG%

In the mold of Max Strus, Joe Harris sounds great in theory. I’ve been pleading the Bulls to add movement shooting, and Harris’ skill set could be a welcome addition to the Bulls plodding half-court offense.

Problem is, Harris has not been the same since his ankle surgery two seasons ago. He may be on the Bulls radar, but I wouldn’t expect him to contribute much at this point in his career.

Davis Bertans

Bio: 6’10 power forward, age 31

Key Stats: 2.9 points, 0.7 rebounds, 0.6 assists, -2.3 EPM (41st percentile), 6.1 minutes per game in 15 games played

Percentages: 38.5 FG%, 41.7 3PT%, 93.3 FT%, 57.7 eFG%

It’s been a few years since Bertans contributed to a team in a meaningful way, but his skill set and size could help the Bulls. With Patrick Williams and Torrey Craig (both of whom have experienced recent injuries) as the only power forwards in the room, Bertans could come in and provide high-volume floor spacing for a Bulls roster that still desperately needs shooting.

Honorable mentions: Seth Curry, Otto Porter Jr., Thaddeus Young, Chimezie Metu, Malachi Flynn.

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