Bulls Make Solid if not Unspectacular Moves in Free Agency

In the early stages of free agency the Bulls moved quickly to fill some team needs signing Thadeus Young on day one of the free agency period to a 3 year 41 million dollar deal. The Bulls than evidently put an end to their free agent frenzy by making a sign and trade deal with the Wizards to bring in Tomas Satoransky reuniting him with former Wizards teammate Otto Porter jr thus capping their available space by adding the ten million dollar a year player eating up their remaining 10 million in cap space. The Bulls can use their mid-level exemption by signing a 5 million a year player and all the vet minimum exemption players their hearts desire but essentially are out on any other free agents. They do have one more move to make in unloading Dunn which could bring back a player and picks but they won’t just give him away nor should they so finding a suitable trade partner may prove difficult. Don’t be surprised if the Bulls roll into camp with Dunn, Satoransky, White and Ryan Arcidiacono. In what could be called solid moves no one can argue that these are franchise changing moves. Not in the sense that these players will carry the franchise but what the Bulls appear to be banking on is that these vets will be an example for the players they are counting on to be those franchise changing players in the young core the Bulls have built through the Jimmy Butler trade and their recent run of draft picks.

The Bulls paid dearly for these additions which essentially are for role players. In Young, the Bulls are getting a tireless worker both on and off the court who is here to help build a culture that endorses the grinder mentality. Young is a guy that will be expected to lead verbally as well as through his actions. As for his actions there’s no question the youngsters will see Young put action to where his mouth is which should make verbal leadership quite easy as he holds his teammates accountable for any actions that would be perceived as minimal effort. When on the court Young will fight and battle for every loose ball and every rebound available as well as play both ends of the court every minute he logs with the team. Off the court you will find Young in the weight room, on the practice court being a gym rat, or in the film room studying his opponents as well as self scouting himself to improve his game.

In Satoransky, the Bulls are getting another versatile player who plays both ends and gives good effort on a nightly basis. He brings size and length with him at 6’7″ which gives him the ability to defend multiple positions from 1-3. He is also someone who is more of a facilitator than a scorer although he does have some scoring ability as he was very efficient when he did shoot the ball or drive the lane. He can also push the ball in transition and shoot the three at a high rate of success. Satoransky does give the Bulls a lot of what they need to play a more modern brand of basketball while giving Coby White the example of how to play combo guard in the NBA and the time to develop into a top level combo guard and reach his max ability.

What they bring in production could give the Bulls a chance to win ten more games just by their additions alone if you go by their 2018-19 win shares as Young is a 6.9 WS player and Satoransky a 4.7 WS player. Both are smart and efficient offensive players too. While not filling up a stat sheet they both will and can score when needed to. They will also stay in their lane and gladly defer to the greater talent on the team as solid and willing role players. Satoransky had nearly a 4-1 assist to turnover ratio while averaging 5 assists a game to just 1.5 turnovers. His eFG% (effective field goal percentage) was a very good .545 which coincides with his .395 3pt. percentage. career wise he’s at .524 eFG% and .400 3pt.%.

Young is also a very efficient offensive player. His eFG% was .564 last year and his career eFG% is .524. While he is not a dead eye shot from distance he had a pretty good percentage from three point land for a big known more for his ability to do the dirty jobs hitting .349% of his threes and a career .329%. Not terrible. My biggest concern with the Young signing is not the yearly amount he’ll make but the length of the deal. It appears his third year is guaranteed for the 2021-2022 season which would make it hard for the Bulls to be big players in the 2021 free agency period when a great deal of big time players will be there for the taking. He’ll be making his highest total that year of this contract making 14,317,460. Saturansky pretty much eats up the remainder of the available cap as he is set to make 10 million this season and the next two after as he has a 3 year 30 million dollar contract. So, between he and Young the Bulls have a commitment of just over 24 million dollars on the books for the 2021-22 season.

Of course deals could be made to free up space but with the recent history of the Bulls hierarchy it’s hard to have faith that they can put themselves in a position to be real players in that off-season. It’s hard as a Bulls fan to see all these teams get creative to add top level marquee names while the Bulls constantly cling to their own players and make these minor deals for role players off season after off season. It’s extremely hard to build a championship team in this era of basketball by simply relying on drafting and developing. Even the Raptors who pretty much have a team of role players needed to acquire one of the top ten players in the league and perhaps top five even in Kahwi Leonard to win a championship. A bold move by Toronto considering they took a huge risk by acquiring him with only one season guaranteed on his deal. It’s moves like this the Bulls will eventually have to make if they are to be taken seriously as a team that can operate in today’s NBA. That said, expect the Bulls to be in the mix as one of the top 8 teams in the east this season as they now have solid depth, and added some much needed veteran leadership to add to a pretty decent core of young talent.

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