Call Thursday night’s NBA Draft simply recess.
Aside from the Pelicans and Grizzlies, franchises that believe they’ve added organizational game-changers in Zion Williamson and Ja Morant, most of the remaining lottery teams have a lot of work to do.
Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman know that business is poised to pick up in the next few weeks when free agency begins June 30.
Lightning-quick North Carolina guard Coby White is another key addition for the rebuild, but the front office and coaching staff realize that with more than $20 million in cap space and serious holes to fill, important pieces are there to be had.
No wonder coach Jim Boylen walked through the Advocate Center on Thursday as if he was already in midseason grinding form.
No time to chat; he had places to be.
Boylen has been adamant with management about the additions he’d like to see for his team, but he has mentioned several times that whichever direction the front office goes will be embraced because it will be a roster that he gets to coach from the first day of training camp.
That wasn’t the case last season, when he took over from Fred Hoiberg on Dec. 3.
“I can tell you that the thing that excites me about our direction with [Boylen] is his passion and his care level for our players and this organization,’’ Paxson said after the season. “He wants to succeed; he wants our players to get better. He has a plan in place for all of them in order to do so this offseason, and that’s very encouraging.
“I think given the summer and given the opportunity to go into training camp next year with his own beliefs and philosophy will be an advantage for us.’’
So far, so good for Boylen with the players on the roster. Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen have been working out at the Advocate Center this summer.
The draft added more to the puzzle, but that puzzle still has some serious edge pieces missing.
The Sun-Times reported right after the season that the Bulls were eyeing second- and third-tier point guards in free agency, and that hasn’t changed.
Chicago native Patrick Beverley would be a great fit for what the Bulls want at point guard, but a source said Thursday that Beverley might end up being too pricey, considering the interest building around him.
Veterans Ricky Rubio and Darren Collison bring strengths to the position — especially Rubio with his court vision — but, again, the Bulls aren’t the only players in the point-guard sweepstakes.
Two names that keep coming up on the Bulls’ radar are Cory Joseph and Ish Smith.
Joseph specifically fits what Boylen wants to do, finishing last season fourth in defensive RPM (real plus-minus) for point guards, as well as showing the ability to run a team and get players in the best position to succeed.
Smith also showed the ability to see the floor and run a team, as well as knowing when to score and when to get teammates involved.
Kris Dunn has been inconsistent in those two areas, and White won’t have a grasp of them yet.
Joseph and Smith would allow the Bulls to add more shooting and defense off the bench, with Wayne Ellington still on their radar.
So the draft helped, but come free agency, playtime is over.