Tag: Chicago Bulls

The 2020 Off-Season Breakdown

arturas-karnisovas-welcome_0(credit to NBA.com)

The Chicago Bulls are making big front office changes right now. First hiring Arturas Karinsovas to run basketball operations. Then hiring JJ Polk and Pat Connelly, cap specialist/scout, to join the team. Two of many more hires expected. The new hires are being brought in to get the Chicago Bulls back to being a winning a team, and mainly give the city of Chicago an NBA team to be proud of again. In order to do this, one thing Arturas and company will have to do is rebuild the roster. Rosters are built in 3 ways; draft, trades, free agency. For trades, but mainly free agency, cap space flexibility is important. To acquire talent via free agency cap space is usually needed. At the very least it makes things easier and more realistic. Moving forward, the Bulls ideally will want to be flexible and have as much cap space as they can so they have all the flexibility they need to improve the roster. Let’s go ahead and break down the 2020 and 2021 off-seasons, and what the Bulls cap space projections are looking like along with a few other things. First, the 2020 off-season.

*Before we begin it must be noted with the NBA season currently suspended and future seasons in question, it is impossible to know what the salary cap will look like moving forward. For the purpose of this article I will continue to use the current NBA projections. But be aware there is a lot of uncertainty moving forward with these projections. 



Here are all the numbers going into the Chicago Bulls 2020-21 team salary. To the left you see all the guaranteed money the Bulls have on the books, which totals to 77.5 million. To the right you see all the potential draft pick salaries, options, and free agent cap holds the Bulls have for the 2020 off-season. Let me go over the right side of the chart, as it is important and what confuses most. The player option and draft pick salary is simple, but the free agent cap hold not so much. The free agent cap hold is probably one of the more confusing things for people but you need some understanding of them to understand the rest of this article. Let me briefly explain.

It must be understood, a player will still count against the cap even after his contract expires. This is known as their free agent cap hold. Why have cap holds? The reason for the cap hold is simple. Without them teams can in theory use all their cap space on free agents, then use bird rights to resign all their own free agents over the cap. Basically if you want the right to resign your player over the salary cap, he must then count against your team salary until you resign him. For example purposes let’s use Kris Dunn. Kris Dunn’s contract expires after the 2019-20 season. For the 2020 off-season, Kris Dunn will still be included in Chicago’s team salary as 10.1 million. That will go away when either A) The Bulls renounce his bird rights(now meaning Bulls need cap space to resign him), or B) Kris Dunn signs a new contract with his original or new team.

The Bulls as of now have 21.3 million in cap holds included in team salary. Those cap holds though are their “unrestricted cap holds”. Dunn, Valentine, and Harrison are all eligible for “restricted” free agency. To make those players “restricted”, the Bulls will have to offer them their qualifying offers. Mokoka is also “restricted” eligible but his cap hold is the same regardless. If the Bulls choose to offer those players a qualifying offer, their cap holds will become the number in yellow. The deadline to offer a qualifying offer is usually the day before free agency begins, this year that date is unclear. Here are the qualifying offers for each player:

Dunn: 4,642,800

Valentine 4,642,800

Harrison: 2,025,705

For me it is safe to assume Valentine and Harrison will not be offered their qualifying offers. Either player would likely accept the offer because realistically it is the most money they are going to get on the open market. If a player accepts the offer, he gains a lot of control. The player will then get veto rights on any trade while playing on the qualifying offer which is guaranteed money. A risk not worth Valentine or Harrison in my opinion. Dunn maybe, but for me also that is a difficult decision that Arturas will have to make. While a player like Dunn probably is worth 4.6million, you can probably find someone who does what he does for cheaper this upcoming off-season. Is their more untapped potential with Dunn worth offering him the qualifying offer? If the Bulls renounced all free agents, is there then a possibility to open up significant cap space?

Let’s assume the Bulls choose not to offer the qualifying offers, and want to try and create cap space. Is there even cap space to create? Again as of now the Bulls have 21.3 million in cap holds included in team salary. Remove that and the Bulls go from -18.8mil in cap space to 3.3 million in cap space. Technically cap space, but not enough to do anything. Again Bulls have 77.5mil in salary guaranteed. Not only that the Bulls have a 1st round pick(the 2nd round pick salary doesn’t count until signed). The Bulls 1st round pick will count against the cap signed or not. As of now the Bulls have the 7th overall pick, but that could change after the lottery. Until then I assume the 7th pick, and added that into the team salary. That’s an additional 5.5 million in salary, now at about 83 million in team salary. With that team salary number, that’s 31.8 million in cap space, sounds great right? But then there’s Otto Porter Jr.

hi-res-c41f5834ccf8922c201869bb27eb2b57_crop_north(credit to Bleacher Report)

Otto Porter Jr has a player option worth 28.4 million. He has the option to accept or decline this salary for the 2020-21 season. Normally the deadline is 6/29, but unclear with the current situation. If OPJ was to decline this option, the Bulls could go into 2020 and have flexibility to not only have significant cap space but even “max contract” space. If OPJ accepts then the Bulls chances of having significant cap space goes away. And unfortunately coming off an injury plagued season with not a lot of money to spend around the NBA, OPJ is liking opting in to his 28.4mil in salary and killing the Bulls 2020 cap space chances.

With that understood, the Bulls likely operate over the cap. Meaning they will not renounce those free agent cap holds, and keep their team salary over the cap. This will give the Bulls the option to use the MLE(mid-level exception) and Bi-Annual Exception to add talent to the roster. The MLE in 2020-21 is projected to be worth 9.75mil and the bi-annual is projected to be 3.8mil. The MLE allows up to a 4 year contract, with raises limited up to 5% of the 1st season. It can also be split between multiple players. Same with the bi-annual but instead only 2 year contracts are allowed. Keep in mind also because the Bulls have a 2nd round pick they will need to save at least 946k of the MLE to sign their 2nd round pick. The MLE will allow the Bulls to offer their 2nd round pick a 4 year contract versus the 2 years the minimum or bi-annual exception allows, which is better for bird rights purposes. The Bulls learned this from the Omer Asik situation years ago. With cap space unlikely, the Bulls main focus will be on their draft pick and the trade market most likely. But there are several players eligible for extensions, and the Bulls could choose to start those talks this off-season.

Lauri Markkanen will become eligible to sign an extension once free agency begins. At this time that date is unclear, but what is clear is Markkanen will enter free agency after next season. The Bulls will have from the start of free agency to the start of the regular season to agree to an extension with Markkanen. If they can not, then he will enter 2021 a free agent and likely a restricted one.

lauri(credit to CBSSports)

Another player who becomes eligible is Zach Lavine. On July 13, 2020 Lavine will be eligible to sign an extension, granted the whole NBA suspension might affect this date. But for now assuming it won’t, that is the date Lavine can sign an extension. The Bulls will have until the start of the 2020-21 regular season to extend Lavine beyond the 2021-22 season. If not, they can open up talks again after next season.

The last player eligible is Otto Porter Jr. Well to be fair Cristiano Felicio is also eligible but let’s not waste time. As soon as free agency begins, the Bulls can enter talks with OPJ on an extension. While they likely wouldn’t do that as of now, they will have until the start of 2021 free agency to agree to one. Perhaps having a better 2020-21 season can give the Bulls something to think about when it comes to extending Otto beyond next season. And again this is of course assuming Otto opts in to his player option.

To sum it all up, the Bulls will enter the 2020 off-season likely acting over the cap. They will rely on their MLE and Bi-Annual exceptions to improve the roster via free agency if they want to go that route. But their draft picks will be the team’s 1st priority to start. Then, they must figure out if they should offer qualifying offers to their restricted free agents. Lastly free agency and extensions decisions for Lavine, Markkanen, and/or Porter Jr will be next.

In 2021, the Bulls will have a lot more flexibility, and in my next article I will discuss that.






Bulls Training Camp Preview

September 25th is the day players report to camp and practice as a team for the first time. The Bulls go into training camp with most of the same players from last season. But with two 1st round picks and new free agent additions, the Bulls rotation will have a new look. The new rookies Wendell Carter Jr and Chandler Hutchison will be looking for playing time, and they will be competing with veterans for minutes. The two rookies will need to use preseason to show they can have a positive impact in the regular season, and help the team win games. I see three potential training camp battles. The Bulls first game is October 17th against the Philadelphia 76ers, how these battles play out will determine the rotation for that game. 

Robin Lopez vs Wendall Carter Jr

Battling for starting center position. 

Dunn, Lavine, Parker, and Markkanen are locks as starters for opening night. The center position however is not as clear. Robin Lopez in his two seasons in Chicago has been the starting center, and has been reliable and consistent. You know what you are going to get from Lopez. Robin knows how he is effective and doesn’t try to play outside of his ability offensively. Offensively he is more effective than defensively. Effective inside the paint and from mid range. He is comfortable on the low block and finishing with a hook shot. Knows where he is more effective shooting the ball, takes most of his shots from the paint area and around free throw line.  Not a liability defensively but not a strength either.  Struggles away from the paint, but understands help defense well. Basically he understands how to effect the game in a positive way, and Hoiberg can trust him. But in June the Bulls had the 7th overall pick in the 2018 draft, and chose to draft 19 year old center Wendall Carter Jr.

Lopez is a 10 year pro, and is 30 years old. He normally would be the correct choice over a 19 year old rookie drafted 7th overall. But Wendall Carter Jr showed a defensive potential that Lopez does not have, and never will. You saw a player who can impact the game defensively, an area the Bulls should be most concerned with heading into the upcoming season.


(credit: NBA.com)

The video highlights what Wendell Carter Jr can bring defensively. He has good instincts and understands rim protection. The last clip is something you would rarely see from Robin Lopez, Wendell shows he is able too defend on the perimeter as well as at the rim. Wendell also is skilled offensively. While he likely isn’t ready to have a huge role offensively, he doesn’t have too on this team. He can spread the floor with his range, from mid-range to the 3pt line. He will need to get stronger but seems he can be effective near the basket as well. But really what the Bulls should value for now is his defensive presence.

The one difference maker in the Robin Lopez vs Wendell Carter Jr camp battle is how much can Wendell affect the defensive end right away. Offensively Lopez likely will be more effective on a consistent basis, but defense is more of a need from the center position on this Bulls team. He was great in summer league, but that doesn’t compare to the regular season. The Bulls need to really use training camp and mainly preseason to see how much Wendell can affect the defensive end right away. If his impact on that end is consistently more effective than Lopez, than the Bulls should consider starting Wendell instead. But at 19 years old, expecting him to be that good right away is more unlikely than likely. But he should get every opportunity in preseason to play with the first unit. And even if Wendell doesn’t start, maybe he should be considered to finish games especially when defense is needed. 

For now Lopez is likely the favorite to start, while Wendell will get around 20-22mpg to start. But depending how good he looks in training camp and preseason, that number should rise as well as possibly start. 


Justin Holiday vs Chandler Hutchison

Battling for rotation time 

Realistically only about 10 players will play in a game, sometimes even less. 5 starters, 5 bench players. At this point we know Cameron Payne, Denzel Valentine, Bobby Portis, and WCJ or Lopez will be in the rotation. The question really becomes who can become that 10th guy? Like the 1st battle I covered, this is again rookie vs veteran. 

Unlike the first battle, the veteran Holiday isn’t as established and productive as Lopez. Holiday most of his career has been a low end rotational type player. While last year started at the wing for 72 games, he was more of a filler in a rebuilding year. He averaged 12 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assist. Shot inefficiently at 37% from the field, which is below average for his position. From 3 shot 35% which is about average for his position. Defensively he is about average as well. Just using on/off ratings the Bulls were better defensively with him, but still a poor defensive team either way. Holiday at this point is a catch and shoot 3 point shooter while providing average defense. Again like with Lopez, with Holiday you know what you are going to get. With Hutchison it is not as clear, but we did get a glimpse of his potential in summer league. 



(credit: FreeDawkins)

This highlight reel really showcased the potential Hutchison showed in summer league. Hutchison was labeled as an athletic SF who can play defense, and we saw that. Hutchison showed he can move well laterally, has good hands, and a good IQ and understanding on how to play defense. The one thing that surprised me was his play vision and ball handling. Hutchison was 2nd on the team with assist in summer league with 18 assist. He handled the ball well, and was able to get to the paint and create for others or himself. While he didn’t finish consistently at the rim, he did shoot the 3 ball well. He was 8-16 from 3 in summer league. 

Hutchison showed a potential to affect the game in a way Holiday can’t. Hutchison showed not only more defensive potential, but showed an ability to be more of a play maker than Holiday on the offensive end. But this is just from summer league. Training camp and preseason will determine a lot in this battle. To me this battle should be considered an open competition. Hutchison potentially can bring more than Holiday can, but the question is how good can he be right now. That’s what preseason will have to determine. Can Hutchison adjust to the NBA quick enough to help the Bulls win right away? We know what Holiday can do, and what he will bring to the team and he can help. But if Hutchison can outplay Holiday in preseason, then Hutchison should be considered ahead of him in the rotation. Both should equal time with the 2nd unit, and see who has more impact with that unit. 


Ryan Arcidiacono vs Antonius Cleveland vs Derrick Walton Jr

Battling to make regular season roster 

The Bulls must have their roster at 15 by Oct. 15th, and as of right now the Bulls have 17 players under contract. The Bulls must waive two players by Oct. 13th, so they can clear waivers by Oct. 15th. The Bulls have 17 players under contract, only 14 of them are guaranteed. There are three players under contracts that are fully non-guaranteed. Those 3 players are Arcidiacono, Cleveland, and Walton Jr. 

Those players are the 3 that are likely to be battling it out for that last spot. It’s possible none of them make the team, and the Bulls only carry 14 going into the season. Or even possible Bulls keep 2 of the 3, and waive someone like Asik who is likely to see DNPs most of the season. But Asik’s 11.2 million guaranteed makes that an unlikely scenario. What is most likely to happen is only 1 of the 3 make the team.  While the two other two are waived. One of them can be brought back on a two-way contract after they clear waivers, and one or both can be brought back on a G-League contract as well. 

Arcidiacono and Walton Jr are both point guards, while Cleveland is more of a shooting guard. Neither of the three have much NBA experience, all 1 year players with none of them playing more than 24 games. And neither of them played a significant role with their respective teams. There isn’t anything the 3 players do that separates them from each other. Really what it comes down too is what do the Bulls need more?  Point guard? Shooting guard? The Bulls have only have two point guards on the roster, Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne. While the Bulls have Lavine, Holiday, Valentine, and Blakeney at shooting guard. That’s four shooting guards compared to just two point guards. Cleveland would have too really impress in camp to make the roster. To me the real competition is between Walton Jr and Arcidiacono. The Bulls could use an extra point guard, and one of the two has to show why they are the one. Arcidiacono has a slight advantage over Walton Jr. Arcidiacono played in the system last season, and has a better idea of what Fred is looking for and how too run the offense. 

Arci stats(Arcidiacono stats via basketballreference.com)

Walton Jr stats(Walton Jr stats via basketballreference.com)

The stats are their G-League numbers. Watching both players and looking at the stats, Walton Jr seems to be the better scoring point guard. Arcidiacono shot the ball exceptionally well last season. His passing vision and and shooting ability is what he brings to the NBA. I imagine Arcidiacono has the edge on Walton Jr in this battle purely based off the fact he played with the team last season, and the team seems to like him. He was one of the better G-League players last season, and thrived running the system down there. Walton Jr likely will have to really impress to win the spot over Arcidiacono, but either one could be brought back as a two-way player as well. I believe Arcidiacono will win this battle, but the idea of bringing Wralton Jr back as a two-way player could happen if he plays well. 

If the idea of the new season wasn’t exciting enough, these 3 battles will make preseason really interesting to watch. There is a lot to look for, and how these players play should have impact on how the rotation and roster looks come October 17th. 





Why Nwaba’s Time in Chicago Seems to be Over

The Chicago Bulls claimed David Nwaba off waivers last off-season. Nwaba at the time was 24 but only had 20 games of NBA experience, playing less than 400 minutes during this time. Nwaba ended up with a even bigger role in Chicago. He played in 70 games for Chicago last season, and played well throughout the season. Nwaba’s strengths were his defense and rebounding.


You see the numbers from https://cleaningtheglass.com/. When on the court, Nwaba is top in the NBA at his position for rebounding %. The blue/red numbers indicate the % he ranks within in his position for each category. Simply put when out there, Nwaba is one of the better rebounders on the court. Nwaba is also a quality defender. Even with his limited offensive skill set, Nwaba brought value to the Bulls last season. Nwaba entered restricted free agency for the 2018 off-season, and at the start of the off-season it seemed the Bulls were going to bring Nwaba back. They extended the qualifying offer to him, and seemed to have interest in bringing back the 2 year pro. But on July 14th, 2018 the Bulls removed the qualifying offer, and renounced the rights to Nwaba.

The move was done to make room for free agent Jabari Parker, but the Bulls didn’t have to do this. Nwaba had a cap hold of 1.7 million as a restricted free agent. The Bulls could have kept him restricted, kept his hold, and still offer Jabari Parker a 2yr/38 million contract(18.9mil salary for 18-19). But for some reason the Bulls decided to remove the qualifying offer, and also renounce his rights. Clearing the 1.7 million cap hold, and giving Chicago ability to offer 2yrs/40 million(20mil salary for 18-19). Was that necessary? Was there a fear Parker wouldn’t have accepted 18.9 million salary for 18-19, and demand an extra 1.1 million to bring it to 20 million? I doubt that. So why did the Bulls do that?

I imagine the Bulls were honest with Nwaba about his potential role. The Bulls have Lavine, Parker, Valentine, and Hutchinson on the roster. These are all players who play Nwaba’s position, and are all players Bulls have interest in seeing play next season. There is also Holiday, and now Antonio Blakeney who was promoted to an NBA contract for the next 2 seasons. The realization of there is no guaranteed playing time for Nwaba was there. Nwaba likely expressed his desire to not only get raise, but mainly be in situation where he can have a role and opportunity to showcase his skills. That would have not been a guarantee with Chicago. Seems both sides came to realization that Chicago is not the ideal fit for Nwaba due to potential limited role, and it was inevitable the relationship wasn’t going to work moving forward.

The possibility of Nwaba coming back is still there. Bulls have the room exception worth 4,449,000. They can offer up to 2 years, with a starting salary up to that amount. But the money doesn’t change the lack of a role Nwaba could experience in Chicago next season. The only way I can see Nwaba back in Chicago is if the interest in Nwaba from other teams just isn’t there for him, leaving Chicago as one his few options for next season. I see that as unlikely, as Nwaba is a player that can help teams in any system. And I have to imagine there is a team that can offer him a back end rotational position throughout the season.

I would have kept Nwaba restricted, and hoped to work out something with him. If he didn’t want to come back, he didn’t have too. But the Bulls made him unrestricted, leaving them without a first right to refusal opportunity. I still see value in Nwaba, and would have liked if the Bulls tried to keep him around purely as an asset, let alone a player that could help you next season. But at this point, it doesn’t seem Nwaba coming back is going to happen.

Chicago Bulls Cap Sheet

Owner: Jerry Reinsdorf

Director of Basketball Operations: John Paxson

General Manager: Gar Forman

Senior Advisor of Basketball Operations: John Collins

Head Coach: Fred Hoiberg (Contract expires after the 2019-20 season)


*Please if you notice any errors, feel free to contact me.

2018-19 Team Salary Information

Players Cap Hit Explanation
Robin Lopez 14,357,750  
Omer Asik 11,286,516  
Noah Vonleh 10,515,699 Cap Hold (RFA)
Zach Lavine 9,606,654 Cap Hold (RFA)
Cristiano Felicio 8,470,980  
Lauri Markkanen 4,536,120  
Justin Holiday 4,384,615  
Kris Dunn 4,221,000  
2018 7th overall 3,669,400 Not Official
Cameron Payne 3,263,294  
Jerian Grant 2,639,314  
Bobby Portis 2,494,346  
Denzel Valentine 2,280,600  
Sean Kilpatrick 2,054,856 non-guaranteed

guaranteed 1/10/19

David Nwaba 1,699,698 Cap Hold (RFA)
2018 22nd overall 1,645,400 Not Official
Paul Zisper 1,544,951 non-guaranteed

guaranteed 7/19/18

Ryan Arcidiacono (Two-Way) 1,337,872 Cap Hold (RFA)
Antonio Blakeney (Two-Way) Under Two-Way  
Guaranteed Salary 57,934,535  Does not include draft picks
Roster Size 17 (Includes draft picks) Must be at 15 for start of regular season.
Mid Level 8,567,000 Projection
Mini Mid Level 5,291,000 Projection
Bi Annual 3,353,000 Projection
Room 4,410,232 Projection
Trade Exceptions    
Nikola Mirotic 12,500,000 Expires 2/1/2019
Jameer Nelson 1,429,818 Expires 2/8/2019
Jimmy Butler 861,893 Expires 6/22/18
Projected Draft Pick ****  
Incomplete Roster Charge 1,662,622 For Max Space
Team Salary 116,720,776 Current Salary
  90,009,065 current w/o exceptions
  74,555,687 Likely
  59,597,157 Guaranteed Salary +IRC
Salary Cap 101,000,000 Projection
Cap Room -15,720,776 current
  10,990,935 current
  26,444,313 Likely
  41,402,843 Max Space 
Luxury Tax 123,000,000 Projection

Max Contract Space: (Projections)

0-6 year player: 25,250,000 (25% of salary cap)

7-9 year player: 30,300,000 (30% of salary cap)

10+ year player: 35,350,000 (35% of salary cap)

Extension Eligible: 

Robin Lopez (Deadline: 7/1/19)

Omer Asik (Deadline: 7/1/20)

7/6/18 – Cameron Payne (Deadline: Before 1st game of the regular season)

7/6/18 – Bobby Portis (Deadline: Before 1st game of the regular season)

7/6/18 – Jerian Grant (Deadline: Before 1st game of the regular season)

7/15/18 – Paul Zipser (Deadline: 7/1/20)

Important Dates:

6/29/18: The last day the qualifying offer can be offered for potential restricted free agents: Zach Lavine, Noah Vonleh, David Nwaba, Ryan Arcidiacono

7/13/18: Last day the qualifying offer can be withdrawn if offered to begin with. After this day the player must approve removal of qualifying offer

7/19/18: Paul Zipser’s contract becomes guaranteed.

10/31/18: Last day rookie scale team options can be accepted for the 2019-20 season: Lauri Markkanen, Kris Dunn, Denzel Valentine.

1/10/19: Sean Kilpartrick’s contract becomes guaranteed.

2019-20 Team Salary Information


Players Cap Hit Explanation
Robin Lopez 21,536,625 Cap Hold
Omer Asik 11,977,527 3 mil guaranteed

Fully guaranteed 1/10/20

Cameron Payne 9,789,882 Cap Hold (RFA)
Cristiano Felicio 8,156,500  
Jerian Grant 7,917,942 Cap Hold (RFA)
Bobby Portis 7,483,038 Cap Hold (RFA)
Justin Holiday 5,700,001 Cap Hold
Kris Dunn 5,348,007 Team Option 10/31/18
Lauri Markkanen 5,300,400 Team Option 10/31/18
2018 7th overall 4,297,500 Not Official
Denzel Valentine 3,377,569 Team Option 10/31/18
Sean Kilpatrick 2,054,856 Team option 6/29/19 (non-guaranteed) 1/10/20
2018 22nd overall 1,927,100 Not Official
Paul Zisper 1,676,735 Fully guaranteed on 7/19/19
Antonio Blakeney 1,430,595 Cap Hold (RFA)
Guaranteed Salary 11,156,500  
Roster Size  n/a  
Mid Level 9,161,000 Projection
Mini Mid Level 5,658,000 Projection
Bi Annual 3,585,000 Projection
Room 4,717,000 Projection
Trade Exceptions    
Projected Draft Pick 2019 1st Round  Will project start of 2018-19 season
Incomplete Roster Charge 4,156,555 likely
  9,144,421 For Max Space
Team Salary 110,720,277 current w/ exceptions
  96,543,682 current w/o exceptions
  43,334,749 likely + IRC
  20,934,697 guarantees + IRC
Salary Cap 108,000,000 Projection
Cap Room -2,720,277 current
11,456,318 current
  64,665,251 likely
  87,065,303 max space
Luxury Tax 131,000,000 Projection
Tax Room    
Tax Hit    
Minimum Salary    
Team Salary for Minimum    
Away From Minimum    

* Keep in mind possible resigning and extensions could affect these numbers. Example Zach Lavine’s potential new contract is not calculated here. Along with 2019 1st round pick. Every player’s salary or hold that is calculated is seen in the chart above.

Max Contract Amounts: (Projections)

0-6 year player: 27,000,000 (25% of the salary cap)

7-9 year player: 32,400,000 (30% of the salary cap)

10+ year player: 37,800,000 (35% of the salary cap)

Extension Eligible:

Omer Asik (Deadline: 7/1/20)

Paul Zipser (Deadline: 7/15/20)

7/6/19: Cristiano Felicio (Deadline: 7/1/21)

7/6/19: Kris Dunn (Deadline: Before start of the regular season)

7/6/19: Denzel Valentine (Deadline: Before start of the regular season)

3/26/20: Sean Kilpatrick (Deadline: 7/1/20)

Important Dates:

6/29/19: Last day qualifying offer can be offered: Cameron Payne, Bobby Portis, Jerian Grant, Antonio Blakeney

7/13/19: Last day the qualifying offer can be withdrawn if offered to begin with. After this day the player must approve removal of qualifying offer

7/19/19: Paul Zipser becomes guaranteed

10/31/19: Last day rookie scale team option’s can be accepted for 2020-21 season: Lauri Markkanen, 2018 7th pick and 22nd pick

1/10/19: Omer Asik and Sean Kilpatrick become guaranteed.

2020-21 Team Salary Information

Players Cap Hit Explanation
Omer Asik 17,966,291 Cap Hold
Kris Dunn 16,004,021 Cap Hold (RFA)
Denzel Valentine 10,132,707 Cap Hold (RFA)
Cristiano Felicio 7,529,020  
Lauri Markkanen 6,731,508 Team Option 10/31/19
2018 7th overall 4,502,000 Team Option/Not Official 10/31/19
Sean Kilpatrick 3,771,500 Cap Hold
2018 22nd overall 2,018,800 Team Option/Not Official 10/31/19
Paul Zisper 1,638,820 Cap Hold (RFA)
Guaranteed Salary 7,529,020  
Roster Size  n/a  
Mid Level 9,620,000 Projection
Mini Mid Level 5,943,000 Projection
Bi Annual 3,764,000 Projection
Room 4,953,000 Projection
Trade Exceptions  n/a  
Projected Draft Pick  2020 1st and 2nd Round Pick  Will Project start of 2019-20 season
IRC 1,866,746 current
  5,600,238 likely
  10,267,103 For Max Space
Team Salary 85,545,413 current w/ exceptions + IRC
  72,161,413 current w/o exception + IRC
  52,518,294 likely  + IRC
  17,796,123 guarantees + IRC
Salary Cap 113,400,000 Projection
Cap Room 27,854,587 current
w/o Exceptions 41,238,587 current
  60,881,706 likely
  95,603,877 max space
Luxury Tax 137,550,000 Projection
Tax Room    
Tax Hit    
Minimum Salary    
Team Salary for Minimum    
Away From Minimum    

Max Contract Amounts: (Projections)

0-6 year player: 28,350,000 (25% of the salary cap)

7-9 year player: 34,020,000 (30% of the salary cap)

10+ year player: 39,690,000 (35% of the salary cap)

Extension Eligible: 

Cristiano Felicio (Deadline: 7/1/21)

7/6/18: Lauri Markkanen (Deadline: Start of the regular season)

Important Dates: 

6/29/20: Last day qualifying offer can be offered: Kris Dunn, Denzel Valentine

7/13/20: Last day the qualifying offer can be withdrawn if offered to begin with. After this day the player must approve removal of qualifying offer

10/31/20: Last day rookie scale contract’s team options can be accepted for 2021-22 season: 2017 7th overall and 22nd overall.

2021-22 Team Salary Information


Players Cap Hit Explanation
Lauri Markkanen 20,194,524 Cap Hold (RFA)
Cristiano Felicio 14,305,138 Cap Hold
2018 7th overall 5,717,540 Team Option/Not Official
2018 22nd overall 3,320,926 Team Option/Not Official
Guaranteed Salary 0  
Roster Size    
Mid Level 10,101,000 Projection
Mini Mid Level 6,239,000 Projection
Bi Annual 3,952,000 Projection
Room 5,201,000 Projection
Trade Exceptions    
Projected Draft Pick    
Incomplete Roster Charge 7,840,336 current
  8,820,378 likely
  11,760,504 For Max Space
Team Salary 65,431,464 current w/ exceptions + IRC
  51,378,464 current w/o exception + IRC
  38,053,368 likey + IRC
  11,760,504 guarantees + IRC
Salary Cap 119,070,000 Projection
Cap Room 53,638,536 current
  67,691,536 current
  81,016,632 likely
  107,309,496 max space
Luxury Tax 144,428,000 Projection
Tax Room    
Tax Hit    
Minimum Salary    
Team Salary for Minimum    
Away From Minimum    

Max Contract Amounts: (Projections)

0-6 year players: 29,767,500 (25% of salary cap)

7-9 year players: 35,721,000 (30% of salary cap)

10+ year players: 41,674,500 (35% of salary cap)

Extension Eligible:

7/6/21 – 2018 7th overall pick (Deadline: Start of the regular season)

7/6/21 – 2018 22nd overall pick (Deadline: Start of the regular season)

Important Dates:

6/29/21: Last day qualifying offer can be offered: Lauri Markkanen

7/13/21: Last day the qualifying offer can be withdrawn if offered to begin with. After this day the player must approve removal of qualifying offer

2022-23 Team Salary Information

Players Cap Hit Explanation
2018 7th overall 17,152,620 Cap Hold (RFA)/Not Official
2018 22nd overall 9,962,778 Cap Hold (RFA)/Not Official
Guaranteed Salary 0  
Roster Size    
Mid Level 11,136,000 Projection
Mini Mid Level 6,878,000 Projection
Bi Annual 4,358,000 Projection
Room 5,734,000 Projection
Trade Exceptions    
Projected Draft Pick    
IRC 10,290,440 current
  10,290,440 likely
  12,348,528 For Max Space
Team Salary 52,899,838 current w/ exceptions + IRC
  37,405,838 current w/o exception + IRC
  37,405,838 likey + IRC
  12,348,528 guarantees + IRC
Salary Cap 125,024,000 Projections
Cap Room 72,124,162 current
  87,618,162 current
  87,618,162 likely
  112,675,472 max space
Luxury Tax 151,649,000 Projections
Tax Room    
Tax Hit    
Minimum Salary    
Team Salary for Minimum    
Away From Minimum    

Max Contract Space: 

0-6 year players: 31,256,000 (25% of the salary cap)

7-9 year players: 37,507,200 (30% of the salary cap)

10+ year players: 43,758,400 (35% of the salary cap)

Extension Eligible:

Important Dates: 

6/29/22: Last day qualifying offer can be offered: 2018 7th pick and 22nd pick.

7/13/22: Last day the qualifying offer can be withdrawn if offered to begin with. After this day the player must approve removal of qualifying offer









My One and Only Reason Bulls Trading for Melo Could Make Sense

Carmelo Anthony has made one thing clear this off-season, and that is he wants no part of coming off the bench. Melo during his exit interview said the following, “Yeah, I’m not sacrificing no bench role. So, that’s out of the question.” Anthony has an ETO for the 2018-19 season worth 27,928,140, which pretty much means he can opt out of his contract if he wants. But it’s widely believed Anthony wouldn’t risk losing most of his money, because there is a high possibility he doesn’t even come close to half of that in the 2018 free agent market. Reportedly if Melo is staying, OKC would ideally like to move Melo in a trade. Which could not only help their tax bill next season, but help save money and help them retain Paul George. But because Melo has a no trade clause and is making so much money next season, that will not be an easy task. But there is a scenario where Melo could make all his money, and still become a free agent. That’s where the Chicago Bulls come in.

Why would the Bulls want to trade for Melo? Well in most cases, they wouldn’t nor should. Melo on the decline and at this point of his career would probably do more harm than good for the young Bulls team. Also why would Melo even accept a trade to the Bulls? First let’s cover why the Bulls should consider trading for Melo. And it relies on one thing, the Thunder taking Cristiano Felicio.

The 4 years 32 million contract the Bulls gave Felicio last off-season was a mistake, and I’m sure they would admit that publicly if it made sense too. He has an average cap hit of 8,000,000 that hurts the Bulls cap space unnecessarily in the upcoming off-seasons, mainly because he produces at a below average level. If I was the Bulls I would give OKC a call and offer to take Carmelo Anthony off their hands if they are willing to take back Crisitiano Felicio and someone like Jerian Grant. A move like that for OKC would not only save them 17 million in team salary but could save even more in taxes next season. And would make it easier for them financially to justify keeping Paul George. But why would Melo agree to a trade to the Bulls?

Well there would be no intention on keeping Melo if you are the Bulls. You would waive Melo immediately and just eat the money, try to work a buy out first but not a big deal if he doesn’t agree. The idea is you are paying 27 million(Melo’s salary) now, to rid yourself of Felicio but mainly his cap hit in 2019-20 and 2020-21. The sell to Melo would be you still get your 27 million, but also get to go wherever you want via free agency. That would be why he would accept the trade to Chicago. The Bulls could also throw in Grant and Holiday(expiring contracts) if they wanted to ease some of the “dead” money they are creating by waiving Melo.

The trade itself would leave the Bulls with little cap space in 2018, but leave them with about 8 million more in 2019 and 2020 because they traded Felicio. Which arguably is when the Bulls were going to use space anyways because they should be a better more appealing team moving forward. Because of that I do believe trading for Melo could make sense for all 3 parties involved.



How Good Can Bobby Portis Become Offensively?

The 3rd year player Bobby Portis has had a solid 2017-18 season. He is finally getting over 20 minutes per game, and is showing he can be a productive offensive player. Let’s look at Portis’ career numbers.

Portis Numbers

You can see with minutes, Portis is showing his offensive potential. For a big he is a decent shooter, he gets offensive rebounds, and can get 15-20 points in starter minutes. Here’s a quick look at Portis’ per 36 minutes numbers.

Portis per 36.png

The per 36 stats just gives you an idea with more minutes, what Bobby can do. No it doesn’t necessarily mean he will put up these exact numbers. I do think however it’s fair to say with about 25 minutes plus a game, Portis is good for 15 points or more on average. Portis has shown he can be a solid offensive player, but the question really is how good can Portis become? Could he become a reliable starter? Or could he even become an All-Star? A more in-depth look at how he gets his points will help us figure out his potential.

Looking into Portis’ numbers, it’s clear he likes to shoot the ball away from the rim more than the average big.

Portis shooting freqency.png

The chart you see is from Cleaning The Glass. It is a site run by Ben Falk, previous Vice President of Basketball Strategy for the Philadelphia 76ers, and former basketball analytics manager of the Portland Trail Blazers. The stats from this chart exclude “garbage time stats”. You can see here what garbage time is defined as,  garbage time. Portis shoots 38% of his shots at the rim, which is below average compared to his position. You see he shoots 26% of his shots from 3 which is above average and 36% from mid-range which is above average at his position. Portis unlike most bigs, relies on outside shooting just as much as at the rim shooting. Let’s take a quick look at how he shoots from each of these areas.

Portis accuracy.png

You can see why Portis likes to shoot as many jump shoots as he does. At the rim Portis shoots 57% which is in the bottom % compared to his position. Portis is a good mid-range shooter though as you see he is in the top % compared to his position from there. From 3 he is slightly below average. We will dive deeper into whether or not Portis can improve at the rim, but looking at these stats his game reminds me of someone similar. Someone who is a former 4 time All-Star. That player is Paul Millsap.

I’m talking about the Paul Millsap from 2013-14 to now. The Paul Millsap who became a better shooter once he signed with Atlanta. Let’s take a quick look at how Millsap likes to score. Here is where he likes to shoot from since 2013.

Millsap 2.png

You can see the numbers are very similar to Portis. Millsap takes more shots from mid range, than he does at the rim. For a big, Millsap shoots a lot of jump shots. Let’s take a look at how he shoots from these areas.

Millsap 3

The numbers are very similar between Portis and Millsap. They both shoot about the same from 3. They both like to rely on jump shots really when you break it down. For 4 seasons in Atlanta, Paul Millsap was an All-Star. Let’s take a quick look at those numbers.

Millsap ATL

These are Millsap’s numbers all four All-Star seasons. When you compare these numbers to Portis’ per 36 numbers, they really start to look similar.

Portis per 36

The question becomes can Portis be as good as Millsap? What are the differences between their games? One thing difference you notice is Millsap gets to the line more than Portis. Let’s take a look at their drawing shooting foul numbers.

Portis foul.png

Millsap foul.png

Looking at the SFLD%(shows the % of the shots player is fouled on), clearly Millsap gets to the line more than Portis. One of the reason for this is likely speed. Millsap blows by his man more, which causes defenders to foul him more than they would with Portis. Defenders are caught out of position more guarding Millsap. This is important because neither are great shooters. Not just relying on shooing and being able to get to the line produces more consistent numbers, which has helped Millsap put up All-Star numbers.

But one advantage Bobby Portis has over Millsap is offensive rebounding. Portis offensive rebounds 10% of his team’s misses, which is way above average for his position. Being able to rebound and get easy baskets should help Portis, but he needs to get better around the rim. You saw as we talked earlier, Portis doesn’t finish well around the rim. But why is that? It seems to me it is mainly a lack of explosion. He is athletic but just not explosive. He also struggles to finish over players with similar or longer height. Here are a few examples of this:

I don’t expect Portis to ever become great under the rim, or even good. But he needs to get closer to average for his position. Getting stronger, working on jumping, and getting better footwork will help Portis. I also think getting more comfortable with his left will help a lot. Portis at times forces shots with his right, when the shot would be easier with his left. Working on these little things can get Portis 2-6 extra points a game.

I think the potential for Portis to become good offensively is there. The things I would like to see Portis improve is his shooting, footwork down low, his left hand, his strength, jumping, and offensive awareness.

I think Portis can become a better shooter than Millsap. He is a better free throw shooter, and I do believe Portis has a nice shot. I think the more he works on his shot, he can become closer to a 38%-40% shooter from distance. Footwork down low can improve which ties in with his left. Portis most of time is looking to finish right. All his set up moves in the post are to set him up going right. Defenders know this and will play him that way, getting them to respect his left will only help his game. Getting stronger comes with age, and the stronger Portis becomes the more separation he will be able to get for his shot down low. And just offensive awareness but more so his shot IQ. This has improved but still needs work. Portis at times settles for bad shots. Contested 3’s or just quick 3’s in general. Usually experience will fix this, Portis just needs to learn what a good shot is and when it’s better to just pass the ball.

If I had to guess I don’t think Portis will ever become an All-Star but I do think he will become a good offensive player teams can rely on. Portis has at least shown the offensive talent that can keep him around the NBA for another 5-6 seasons. Maybe more with hard work.  The Bulls for now should realize they have an offensive talent in Portis, that could help their bench for a long time moving forward.



Bulls Are Not Tanking, They Are Developing

The Chicago Bulls aren’t very good this season, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. The Bulls’ 2017 off-season was an off-season of a team who is rebuilding, going in a completely new direction. The Bulls as of the All-Star Break were 20-36 and went public with the fact they will sit veteran starters Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday, and play younger players like Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne. Many would call this a “tank” move, which you could argue it is. It is a move decreasing the Bulls chances of winning, which is pretty much what tanking is. Tanking values loses over wins, with the results being a better draft pick and a higher percentage of winning the draft lottery. But what the Bulls have demonstrated since the All-Star break is they are not a team that is tanking, but a team focused on development.

The Bulls have been 2-6 since the All-Star break, both wins coming over teams with worse records in Dallas and Memphis. Not great, but a good record for a tank team. But those two wins were against teams they needed to lose too. I mean if the Bulls are tanking of course. Those two games could have helped the Bulls in draft positioning. The way the Bulls finished those games suggest they aren’t necessarily tanking, but focusing on player development. The Bulls have finished not only those two games, but most of these last 8 games with their best available players. A team that is tanking would likely finish the game with their bench, a line up that would decrease their chances of winning in the most important quarter. The Bulls have chose to play Dunn, Nwaba, Lavine, Markkanen, and Portis to close games. That’s arguably the Bulls best lineup, why would they finish games with those players if they were tanking? It’s because they aren’t tanking.


The front office made it clear to Hoiberg not to play Lopez or Holiday, Hoiberg listened. If the front office wanted Hoiberg to lose games, it would only makes sense they mandate the bench to finish games. But seeing how the Bulls have finished games with their best lineup, it is clear the Bulls aren’t necessarily tanking. The core of Dunn, Lavine, Markkanen must develop chemistry with another. The only way that can happen is if they play. The Bulls made that obvious when they sat other starters Lopez and Holiday, but chose to keep those 3 instead. They want those 3 to get as many minutes as possible with each other the rest of the season. They never played a game together until January 13th. The trio didn’t even train together in training camp. At this point, they have only played 10 games with each other. They are being forced to learn each other on the fly, which is not easy. This to me makes sense as to why the Bulls are wanting these 3 to finish games. They do need as much time as possible to get better playing with each other and finishing games with each other as well. The Bulls still really don’t know how their core trio works together, let alone with the other players. The other young guys are simply playing to show their value to the team moving forward. To see who can work with their current core, who can’t.

I understand this approach, but I also understand the consequences. Playing yourself out of a better chance at a higher pick seems counter productive. The higher the pick, the better chance you have at drafting the players you really value in the draft. You could argue the Bulls could still finish games with their bench; while Lavine, Dunn, and Markkanen would still see around 25 minutes a game. Which is true. But there is also the argument that learning how to close games, and going through the growing pains of that this season could really benefit them moving forward. Experience makes you better, experience is what helps slow the game down. You don’t get experience on the bench or in the off season. The Bulls are valuing the minutes those 3 get together over the possibility of losing the game, and gaining better draft position.

I tend to agree with this way of thinking. The Bulls do have 3 young players who do have potential to be 3 good players. Arguably they can be great as well. It would be different if that were not the case. The Bulls seem to believe they can afford to drop down a few spots in the draft because of this. The Bulls also recognize how bad the bottom 5 really is this season. The Bulls could arguably finish these game with their bench players and still end up with better record than those teams. But a part of me still wants the Bulls to try and give themselves the best chance to lose games, but I don’t mind the approach the Bulls are taking as well. Creating good habits now, over creating a losing culture has it’s benefits. I guess the question is, what do you value more. Do you value player development or do you value draft positioning more? The Bulls seemingly for now value development. Focusing on player development could help you in both development and draft positioning. Just focusing on draft position could delay player development, Bulls at the moment aren’t risking that.







Chicago Bulls sign Jarell Eddie to 10 day

The Chicago Bulls filled their last roster spot, for now, by signing 26 year-old forward Jarell Eddie to his fifth 10 day contract of his NBA career. 10 day contracts last 10 days or 3 games, which ever is later. The Bulls have 4 games in 10 games, so there will be opportunity to see Eddie play, especially if forward Paul Zipser is still not able to play because of a sore foot. Eddie signed a 10 day contract earlier in the year with Boston, in which he only played 6 minutes total in 2 games. He only took 1 shot which he missed, also tallying one steal. Eddie spent most of his time in the G-League with the Bulls this season. Here are his numbers with the Windy City Bulls:

Eddie num

Eddie’s value is his shooting. He shot the ball really well in the G-League this season as you see. 47% which is 2nd in the G-League, behind Bulls two-way player Ryan Arcidiacono. Made a living off catch n shoot. Eddie’s hasn’t found success in the NBA, here are his NBA stats:


Eddie is not only auditioning for the Bulls, but the rest of the NBA. Eddie’s NBA opportunities are nearing an end, but he will be on a team that will be possibly be able to give him the opportunity to showcase what he can do. Eddie’s contract will expire 3/10/18.

Chicago Bulls 2018 Offseason Numbers Breakdown

I currently project the Bulls to have about 25 million in cap space for 2018. I will help you understand how I came up with that and more.

First you must know what contracts the Bulls have guaranteed for next season. Here is a list of those players:


Ignore the red, orange, and purple colors for now. That will be explained shortly. Everything in black there is what the Bulls have guaranteed for next season. That is 10 players the Bulls have under guaranteed contracts, at a total of 57,934,535. Now let’s understand what the red and orange colors mean. Let’s start with orange. The orange is there to indicate “non-guaranteed” contract. In the slot next to it explains when the contract becomes guaranteed. The red represents a cap hold. What is a cap hold? A cap hold is a number a team’s free agent will count against their cap. Every team’s free agent has a cap hold until A) his team resigns him to a new contract B) he signs a new contract with another team C) the team renounces the player. A and B are self explanatory, but C I will explain a little further. Really what you must know are the consequences for renouncing a player. Renouncing the player will eliminate the bird rights the player has gained with his team. I don’t want to get deep into bird rights right now, but just understand bird rights is mainly how teams resign their players over the salary cap. Without bird rights, you can not resign a player over the salary cap unless you are using an exception like the “mid-level” exception.

So for the purposes of my 25 million in cap space projection, I assume the Bulls will renounce Vonleh and waive Zipser by 7/19/18. I also assume the Bulls will keep Lavine’s and Nwaba’s cap hold in place. Adding in Lavine’s and Nwaba’s holds to the Bulls guaranteed salary, the team salary number now becomes 69,240,887.

The next numbers we must account for are the Bulls draft picks. The Bulls currently have two first round picks, their own and one from New Orleans protected 1-5. I project those picks to become the 5th overall and 16th overall. 4,425,600 is the 5th overall pick salary in 2018-19, and 2,157,900 is the 16th overall pick salary as well. Yes those picks can land anywhere 5-10, 16-20 possibly. Possibly higher or lower. But the difference between 5-8 and 16-20 is minor. The projections might not be 100% but are close enough to get a good idea.


Adding in those draft projections to our numbers from earlier brings the Bulls team salary to 75,824,387. Those are all the numbers we need to determine the Bulls cap space for next season. We will now take the current salary cap projection the NBA is working under for the 2018-19 season, which is 101,000,000, and subtract our current Bulls team salary projection from that salary cap projection. 25,175,613 is the answer you should get after doing the math, and that is where my 25 million in space projection comes from. That number can vary depending on many factors. Where the picks land once the lottery has finished, also what the salary cap ends up being for 2018-19. It won’t be exactly 101,000,000, but it’s safe to assume it won’t be to far off from that projection. It’s safe to assume the Bulls will have anywhere from 23-30 million in space.

Now let me explain a little bit more about how I came up with some of these other numbers:


This is more for educational purposes at this point. Where is that first number 113,734,855 coming from? How can the Bulls have that much in team salary?

So that number is all the guaranteed salary, cap holds, non-guaranteed salary, draft pick projections, and all the EXCEPTIONS combined. I’m talking about these exceptions:


If you are under the salary cap, then all your exceptions must count toward your team salary. The Bulls without them are under the cap, so they must be added into the team salary. With my 25 million in cap space projection, I assume the Bulls will renounce them. You can renounce your exceptions to clear more cap space, but you will lose them for that season. It is possible the Bulls don’t renounce them, until cap space is needed there is no need to renounce them.

This is the reason for 113,734,855 number, but it is also the reason for the -12 million in space. Until the Bulls renounce their exceptions along with their holds and non-guaranteed money, this is the space they are working with.


The next number 87,885,037 is just all the guaranteed salary, holds, non-guarnateed salary combined. Basically if the Bulls renounced all their exceptions but kept everything else in place. And the 13,114,963 in cap space represents where they would be if they did just that. We already discussed the 75,824,387 figure, along with the 25 million in space. Lastly let’s just discuss the last numbers there. The 59,597,157 is just the guaranteed salary + the incomplete roster charge. What is an incomplete roster charge(IRC)?

An incomplete roster charge occurs when a team drops below 12 players under contract. The Bulls have 10 players under contract. Assuming the Bulls don’t use their draft picks by either trade or drafting overseas players that will stay overseas, the Bulls will only have 10 players under contract. Because of this the Bulls would be charged the rookie minimum of 831,311 twice, which is 1,662,622. So the Bulls guaranteed salary plus the “IRC” is 59,597,157. The cap space of 41,402,843 is possible if the Bulls renounced all their free agents, waived all non-guaranteed money, and traded or drafted overseas players that would stay there with their picks. The 41 million figure is the max space the Bulls could create without trade. Unlikely situation.

After reading all this you should understand everything in this photo:

2018 Off Season

Not only that, you should be able to figure out yourself the Bulls cap space projections for the 2018 offseason.