Paxson, Forman still have work to do to make Bulls’ roster worse

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The NBA offseason is still in the toddler stage, but Bulls vice president John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman have failed so far.

The Bulls’ roster is still too talented. It feels more like a 30-victory team than the 20- to 22-victory territory that likely will be needed to land Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. in the draft next year. That’s especially true if the front office is serious about matching any reasonable offers for restricted free agent Nikola Mirotic.

The Bulls should let Mirotic walk and give Dwyane Wade $20 million for his buyout and ship his stuff off to Cleveland in care of LeBron James.

They need to get worse. The Knicks, Magic and Nets all have a rotten smell to them with Summer League play starting.

Sure, rebuilding is the easy way out for a GM doing his best to stretch his longevity on the job, but it’s also an art. It might be finger-painting, but it’s still an art.

The Bulls’ roster is definitely lottery-friendly, but the goal is to have more chances to win it than anyone else.

Point guard

Depth chart: Kris Dunn (starter), Jerian Grant, Cameron Payne

The Bulls did a good job here, considering the amount of point-guard turnover they’ve had in the last year.

Dunn should be allowed to play 30 minutes a night once the season begins, giving him time to work through his offensive growing pains. He’s athletic and strong and has the potential to be a lockdown defender for years to come.

Grant is a solid backup, but the Bulls still have to find out what they have in Payne. If his brief showing last season was any indication, it’s not much.

Shooting guard

Depth chart: Wade (starter), Zach LaVine, Justin Holiday

Perhaps the agreement with Holiday was a sign the front office finally is getting serious about buying out Wade. The last thing the Bulls need is Wade scoring 30 points a night on 25 shots and actually sneaking out a few victories for them.

There should be no rush to get LaVine back from his knee injury. If that means sitting him until after Christmas, so be it. Holiday is a pro and a good locker-room guy.

Small forward

Depth chart: Denzel Valentine (starter), Paul Zipser

The Bulls need to see exactly what Valentine can be at the NBA level, especially defensively. They want him to get back to playmaking from the wing in Summer League play, so that will be a focus.

Zipser was a solid find in the second round and is a nice backup to have in a rebuild.

Power forward

Depth chart: Mirotic (starter), Bobby Portis, Lauri Markkanen

‘‘Free Niko!’’ signs should be hanging all over the Advocate Center these days. It’s admirable that Mirotic wants to stay loyal to the Bulls, but loyalty doesn’t add losses.

Portis showed improvement last season, but his athleticism is still a question mark. He should be looking over his shoulder at Markkanen, a 7-foot Finn.


Depth chart: Robin Lopez (starter), Cristiano Felicio, Joffrey Lauvergne

Lopez might be the most valuable player of the upcoming season because he is talented and economically friendly enough to bring back a draft pick around the trade deadline.

Felicio is still raw, and Lauvergne is an expendable piece.

Follow me on Twitter @suntimes_hoops.


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