Chicago Bulls Cap Sheet for 2018 Off-Season

Players Cap Hit Explanation
Robin Lopez 14,357,750  
Omer Asik 11,286,516  
Cristiano Felicio 8,470,980  
Justin Holiday 4,384,615  
Kris Dunn 4,221,000  
Lauri Markkanen 4,536,120  
Noah Vonleh 10,515,699 Cap Hold (RFA)
Zach Lavine 9,606,654 Cap Hold (RFA)
Cameron Payne 3,263,294  
Sean Kilpatrick 2,054,856 Fully Non Guaranteed
Denzel Valentine 2,280,600  
Jerian Grant 2,639,314  
Bobby Portis 2,494,346  
David Nwaba 1,699,698 Cap Hold (RFA)
Paul Zisper 1,544,951 fully guaranteed on 7/19/18
Antonio Blakeney Two-Way  
Ryan Arcidiacono 1,337,872 Cap Hold (RFA)
Roster Size  15 (16)  15 player under contract or with cap hold + (1 two-way player)
Exceptions  * see note below to see which exception Bulls will have  
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 3,669,400 7th overall
  1,645,400 22nd projection
IRC **see note below to understand IRC 1,662,622 For Max Space
Team Salary 116,720,776  Current Team Salary w/ Exceptions
w/o Exceptions 90,009,065  Current Team Salary w/o Exceptions
  76,610,543  *** see note below 
  59,597,157 Guaranteed Salary +IRC
Salary Cap 101,000,000 Projection
Cap Room -15,720,776 current w/ exceptions
w/o Exceptions 10,990,935 current w/o exceptions
  24,389,457 Likely
  41,402,843 Max Space ****see note below
Luxury Tax 121,000,000 Projection
Tax Room ****  
Tax Hit ****  
Minimum Salary ****  
Team Salary for Minimum ****  
Away From Minimum ****  

* As of now, the Bulls will have the MLE and Bi-Annual Exception available. But if the Bulls want to create cap space, they would have to renounce these exceptions along with their traded player exceptions. If that happens, the Bulls will then be able to use the room exception.

** IRC stands for “incomplete roster charge”. Teams are charged the rookie minimum every spot they go below 12 players under contract. For example, for the Bulls to create max space they would only have 10 players under contract. If that happens, then the Bulls must be charged rookie minimum (831,311) 2 times. The charges go away once each spot is filled.

*** This team salary numbers excludes Vonleh and Arcidiacono’s cap hold. Also excludes Zipser’s non-guaranteed contract. It also excludes Bulls’ exceptions. If the Bulls want to create cap space, I see this as likely.

**** This is the max space the Bulls can create without trade or stretching a player. For this to happen Bulls must renounce all cap holds, waive all non-guaranteed contracts, and trade draft picks away for future picks. This scenario is unlikely.

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.