When free agency began on Monday, one of the first biggest dominos to fall was a sign-and-trade that sent Lonzo Ball to the Chicago Bulls.
Chicago has reportedly coveted Ball since at least May 2019, as we wrote when we discussed Ball’s fit on the Bulls surrounding the trade deadline in Feb. 2021.
As an up-tempo playmaker who has increased both his willingness and his effectiveness as a shooter, Ball will be a welcome addition in the backcourt. He will have plenty of opportunities to set up the offense for his high-usage teammates in Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic and DeMar DeRozan.
Defensively, the 6-foot-6 guard brags good positional size and he has typically been able to add more value on that end of the floor than both LaVine and Coby White have provided thus far.
This could be a great place for the former No. 2 overall pick to reinvent his career after stops on the Los Angeles Lakers and the New Orleans Pelicans.
Point Guard: Lonzo Ball
His jumper was still inconsistent during his time with the New Orleans Pelicans, but if it falls the way it did when he was hot more often, Ball potentially has what it takes to take the Bulls to the next level in the East. While it’s unclear what this means for Coby White, who was selected by Chicago at No. 7 overall in 2019, Ball projects as an excellent facilitator for the Bulls.
Shooting Guard: Zach LaVine
It may have taken some time but Chicago’s Zach LaVine is coming off the best season of his professional career. The 26-year-old earned his first All-Star appearance and his 27.4 points per game ranked as the fourth-best mark in the Eastern Conference. LaVine will be the main option for the Bulls on offense as their primary scoring threat. Alex Caruso, who Chicago also was able to sign, can provide some solid defense off the bench.
Small Forward: Patrick Williams
Chicago’s front office may have selected Patrick Williams a bit higher than he was originally expected to land in the 2020 NBA draft. But he proved why he was worth the selection at No. 4 overall, earning NBA All-Rookie Second Team consideration this past season. Williams will be more of a role player on a more stacked Bulls roster — but that’s hardly a problem for the 19-year-old.
Power Forward: DeMar DeRozan
Chicago’s front office traded Thaddeus Young and used several other assets to land DeMar DeRozan. At this point in his career, DeRozan is more of a forward than a wing because he is not a willing shooter from beyond the arc. But the four-time All-Star has scored at least 20 points per game in each of the past eight seasons. Meanwhile, the Bulls could still potentially use Lauri Markkanen as a potential asset in a sign-and-trade.
Center: Nikola Vucevic
Chicago’s front office pushed all of the chips to the center of the table to land Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline this past season. The Bulls moved some valuable assets to land Vucevic, and while it didn’t result in an appearance in the play-in tournament, it did give LaVine a pick-and-roll partner for years to come.