Could the Chicago Bulls be going big this offseason?
The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reported Monday that the team has interest in both Rudy Gobert and Mitchell Robinson, two big men who would bolster an area of need in rim protection. Gobert would need to be acquired via trade, while Robinson, who, coincidentally, committed the flagrant foul that knocked Patrick Williams out for much of last season, is set to be an unrestricted free agent in July.
The future direction of the Utah Jazz is a hot topic around the NBA following Sunday’s development that Quin Snyder stepped down as coach. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell was both “unsettled” and “disappointed” by the news, which could be a precursor to Mitchell stating his unhappiness in Utah and requesting a trade.
Gobert, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, is the other big name often rumored to be on the move should the Jazz seek a new direction. He’s due an average of $42.4 million over the next four seasons and is a limited offensive player but is as good as it gets when it comes to rim protection and serving as the backbone of a defense. He also led the league in rebounding last season, averaging 14.7 per game.
Would a package of Nikola Vučević, Patrick Williams and Javonte Green move the needle for the Jazz? Vučević and Green are on expiring contracts, while Williams’ potential could fit on a team that would also save on its luxury tax bill.
As for Robinson, he’s in line for a big raise after averaging 8.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks for the New York Knicks, the last of his deal that paid him $1.8 million last season. The Bulls project to be an over-the-cap team this offseason, particularly if they re-sign unrestricted free agent Zach LaVine. That would leave them either the full midlevel or taxpayer midlevel exceptions to add players. The first is expected to be near $10.2 million, while the latter projects to be at $6.3 million. That isn’t expected to be enough to sign Robinson.
The Knicks own the Bird rights to Robinson, their former second-round pick, meaning they can exceed their cap to re-sign him. Other teams linked to Robinson, who could command in the $10-12 million range in free agency, are the Detroit Pistons and Oklahoma City Thunder.
For what it’s worth, executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas praised Vučević and his role and skillset during his end-of-season media session with reporters. He also echoed his sentiments from his inactive trade deadline of seeking continuity for a core that has barely played together after he massively overhauled the roster.
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