Don’t expect the Bulls to go all-in on one big-ticket player in free agency
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Bulls president and chief operating officer Michael Reinsdorf will be relatively hands-off when it comes to free-agent basketball decisions.
Reinsdorf wants to be ‘‘informed’’ of the decisions and the direction the Bulls are taking, but he won’t dictate how to spend the money.
‘‘That’s obviously a question that [vice president of basketball operations] John Paxson and [general manager] Gar Forman have to answer, but I think we stay the course,’’ Reinsdorf told the Sun-Times when he was asked last month about whether he wanted the money split up among multiple free agents or allocated to one. ‘‘The Otto Porter [trade] was, in some ways, a free agent we signed. We picked him up in the middle of a season, and we used a lot of cap space for that.
‘‘If John and Gar identify a player they want to go after and use the rest of the cap space, that’s their call. If they come back and say, ‘Let’s add these two or three veteran players,’ that’s also their call. We don’t try and interfere on the basketball decisions. We like to ask questions, we like to be informed, we like to at times push back, but my dad [Jerry Reinsdorf] and I, we’re not making those decisions.’’
Neither is coach Jim Boylen. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some player characteristics he’d like the front office to pursue.
‘‘We just talked about kind of identifying some of the qualities we would like,’’ Boylen said Monday of the Bulls’ free-agent mindset. ‘‘Without being too specific, guys that compete, guys with a motor. We’ve talked about having the capability to guard some of the tougher guys in our division. Who’s going to guard Giannis [Antetokounmpo]? Who’s going to guard Blake [Griffin]? Can we get the guys we have to grow into defending them? Those are some of the conversations we’ve had. But we’ll dive more into that next week and as we go forward.
‘‘From my standpoint — and Gar and John have been very supportive of this — guys that when they have ‘Bulls’ across the chest, it means the world to them and they play hard. We feel like if we get guys with high character that want to play hard, we’re going to be good. So that’s kind of my focus.’’
The good news for the Bulls is that the free-agent class is loaded, not only at the top but also in terms of depth. The bad news is the Sun-Times already has reported the Bulls likely will go after second- and third-tier free agents, looking to add depth and competition, especially at point guard.
Even Boylen hinted a major free agent might not be the way to go.
‘‘Do we hope to get two good players for that chunk of money and add depth, improve our bench, or do we get one guy?’’ Boylen said. ‘‘It really depends on who shakes out [in free agency], who is available and what happens to the rest of the teams in the league.
‘‘If you look at our roster, it’s going to feel like adding three free agents when [injured players] Denzel [Valentine], Hutch [Chandler Hutchison] and Wendell [Carter Jr.] come back.
‘‘That’s going to be an interesting thing.’’