Chicago Bulls: Front office key after Draft Lottery letdown

Chicago Bulls (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) /

There were long odds, but the Chicago Bulls were hoping to jump into the top four picks in Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery. This would’ve allowed them to keep the pick they traded this season, but it wasn’t in the cards. Now there’s a lot of work to do this offseason to improve the roster.

The Bulls traded their 2021 first-round pick to the Orlando Magic last season to acquire center Nikola Vucevic. The pick would only remain with the Bulls if it were a top-four pick, but on Tuesday Orlando walked away with picks number five and eight.

With the team’s first-round pick now gone, they have only a second-rounder in the upcoming NBA Draft. The draft won’t be an option for the front office to build the roster for next year, so they will have to rely on free agency.

There are tough roster decisions for second-year Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisorvas to deal with this offseason. His hiring was widely praised across the league, but this is his first chance to fully shape the roster the way he wants.

The Chicago Bulls were unlucky during Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, losing out on a lottery pick. The front office must step up this offseason.

Karnisorvas got a chance in the 2020 NBA Draft to make the first big roster decision in his new role. The Bulls selected guard Patrick Williams with the fourth overall pick, and while there was mixed reaction to the pick at the time, it ended up working out.

Williams was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie second team this year after a solid first season. He definitely has a future with this team and was a great two-way player last season. He may not be a potential superstar, but he’s got a high ceiling.

The big question mark regarding the team’s roster is forward Lauri Markkanen. The Finnish star had a good start to his Bulls career but has struggled as of late. He battled injuries this past season and was underwhelming when on the court.

Karnisorvas will most likely look to replace Markkanen this offseason, but it won’t be that easy. Markkanen is a restricted free agent, so teams will have to submit an offer sheet for the forward that the Bulls will have a chance to match.

It’s not out of the question that if a team tries to lowball Markkanen, the Bulls could step in and match the offer. But there were whispers for months that Markkanen was unhappy and wanted a change of scenery. Karnisorvas is likely to give him his wish.

The problem on the horizon is the lack of talented forwards that are available in free agency. If the Bulls don’t match an offer made to Markkanen, they won’t have many quality choices in terms of a replacement.

More from Da Windy City

One of the players the Bulls sent to Orlando in the Vucevic trade, forward Otto Porter Jr., is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Will the Bulls look to bring him back? He had some success during his tenure in Chicago, but also dealt with injuries.

Forward John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks made an impact in several NBA Playoff games this year, but his rumored request of a max contract makes it unlikely the Bulls would make him an offer. Most of the FA forwards left are veterans that came off the bench last year.

All eyes are on Arturas and Co. as they make a push to shuffle this roster in a positive direction and get the Bulls back in the playoffs where they belong. Only time will tell if this front office can get it done in free agency, and it seems to be the only way this team will improve.