This cycle of free agency could now apparently include the Chicago Bulls pursuing Los Angeles Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell.
With all of the changes that the Chicago Bulls made thus far within the organization since their offseason first arrived back in spring, It all started with the demotion of former vice president of basketball operations John Paxson to a senior advisor role and the parting ways with former general manager Gar Forman entirely. The Bulls replaced Paxson with former Denver Nuggets general manager Arturas Karnisovas and Forman with ex-Philadelphia 76ers senior VP of player personnel Marc Eversley.
The Bulls also hired former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan to replace now former head coach Jim Boylen earlier this week. They parted ways with Boylen back on Aug. 14, and hired Donovan to replace him on Sep. 22. Donovan received a contract that is worth $24 million over the course of four years with the Bulls.
It’s nice to see a new head coach at the helm that is more of a proven winner at the NBA level than either Boylen or former head coach (now with the Nebraska Cornhuskers basketball program) Fred Hoiberg. Donovan finished up his five years as the Thunder head coach with a regular season record of 243-157 (.609 winning percentage). Although he didn’t have as much success in the postseason, posting a record of 18-23 (.439 winning percentage) with the Thunder.
But where could the Bulls go from here to improve the roster construction heading into next season?
A report from Sam Amico of SI earlier this week noted that the Bulls could be one of multiple teams interested in pursuing the Los Angeles Clippers forward/center and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell. The Bulls were included in a group of teams that also included Harrell’s current team, the Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, and Toronto Raptors, as to those who could be interested in pursuing him in free agency this offseason.
We’ll have to see if this rumor holds up to be true over the coming months ahead of this free agent cycle for the Bulls. Although it would be nice to see the Bulls add a player with some grit and winning experience like Harrell in this cycle of free agency.
There would likely have to be a good amount of roster shuffling if the Bulls were to make room on the cap sheet for a forward/center that would command the price tag of Harrell. Maybe that would be trading the likes of small forward Otto Porter Jr., or buying out big man Cristiano Felicio (or finding a place for a salary dump with his oversized contract).
Moreover, Harrell played in 63 games during the 2019-20 regular season for the Clippers (starting in just two of them). He averaged an impressive career-best 18.6 points per game, 7.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.6 steals, and 1.1 blocks. Harrell shot 58.0 percent from the field and 65.8 percent from the free-throw line.
The Bulls likely would have to pay Harrell at least $14-15 million this offseason to get him interested in coming to Chicago. At least the new front office regime and head coaching hire make the Bulls a bit of a more appealing landing spot in the near future.