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Chicago Bulls Newsletter - Bulls Season Breakdown and Future

Chicago Bulls Newsletter - Bulls Season Breakdown and Future
By Ryan Taylor • Issue #4 • View online
The Chicago Bulls’ season finally came to an end at the end of April, ending with three straight blowout losses against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs.
Yes, the Bulls ended on a sour note, embarrassingly losing to the defending champions. But, there’s plenty to be overjoyed about from the Bulls’ past season. 
They finished with the sixth-best record in the Eastern Conference and claimed a playoff berth for the first time since the 2017 season. Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan were named All-Stars for the second and fifth time in their careers. Most importantly, the fanbase is building back strong again in the city. 
I talked to two members of the die-hard Chicago Bulls community to penny their thoughts about the past season and receive their contentions on what needs to change this offseason. Here’s our full breakdown of the Bulls’ past and future.

Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
“I think you have to look at what your personal expectations were to deem it a success or not,” said Matt Hearn, owner of the @SeeRedUK Twitter account for international Bulls fans. 
“Personally, I expected 45 W’s and the playoffs. We did that, so for me, it’s a success. However, it was also frustrating. We brought in pieces to do a job, but they didn’t, and the pieces that did got injured. The pieces we didn’t expect much from turned out to be crucial pieces. It’s hard to look past the end of the season and the playoffs to gauge the success but pre All-Star we were top of the East. But the problems we had all season were exposed by the better teams (lack of size, no rim protection, poor shooting). Still, it’s a good building block for next season, the core is there, just needs tweaking.”
Hearn alludes to a lot of different issues the Bulls experienced this past season. Plenty of key players suffered injuries. LaVine went through a wrist and multiple knee injuries. Alex Caruso broke his wrist. Lonzo Ball suffered a tear in his meniscus. To top it all off, Covid-19 hit the team multiple times, including LaVine just before the last playoff game. 
Thankfully, the Bulls persevered enough this season to secure themselves a playoff spot. At various points during the season, they did lead the conference in the record, but their play declined after the All-Star break. 
I would agree with the contention that this past Bulls’ season was a success. There were plenty of electric moments to watch on the floor – like DeRozan’s back-to-back buzzer-beaters against the Pacers and the Wizards. There’s plenty of optimism, in my opinion, that the Bulls will be even better next year because most of the core players are new to the franchise.
Rob Perez
IMPOSSIBLE. DEMARVELOUS DEMAR DEROZAN HITS HIS SECOND GAME-WINNING BUZZER-BEATER THREE IN THE LAST 24 HOURS BULLS WIN AGAIN https://t.co/OERghngrPN
“In terms of the offseason, the Bulls have one huge decision looming over their heads along with being tasked with improving the team on the margins,” Bulls Blogger Vijay Vemu (@vj_v_) said. 
“The free agency of LaVine has been talked about for months now and Chicago is still in a position to offer him the most money. From his press conferences, LaVine has said positive things about the Bulls so fans are well within their right to be super optimistic about him returning. However, this is the first time he has been an unrestricted free agent in his career. So it wouldn’t be shocking in the slightest to see him at least want to take meetings with other teams. His free agency decision will dictate how Chicago operates in free agency.”
Vemu offers a detailed insight into what the Bulls’ offseason will look like in a nutshell. It’s safe to say, the most important piece is bringing back LaVine. LaVine and the Bulls failed to sign an extension last offseason, leaving him an unrestricted free agent this offseason. 
LaVine is in the conversation for a max deal and he likely will receive one. The only question is whether or not it will come from the Bulls. As a veteran of seven years, LaVine is eligible to take 30 percent of the estimated $122 million NBA cap set for next season. 
According to expert analysis from Will Gottlieb of CHGO, NBA rules dictate the Bulls can offer him an eight percent annual raise starting at a $36 million salary per year, while all other NBA teams can only offer him five percent. The Bulls can also give him a fifth year on his contract, while the rest of the league can only offer him four years. 
The Bulls would likely have to dip into the luxury tax to make this move happen, which Michael Reinsdorf, son of owner Jerry and COO of the Bulls, said he would “absolutely” dip into the luxury tax. The point is that LaVine will come back to the Bulls given the correct offer.
Ryan Taylor
Wow, just wow.

Bulls fans are hashing on whether or not to sign LaVine to a max.

Look at what this man is doing for the city. #DePaulSMN #BullsNation https://t.co/KxeiAakNHS
“The Bulls had some misses when filling those positions last season so it would be nice to see them add more shooting via free agency or even trade,” Vemu said. “A big athletic wing would help solve a lot of problems for Chicago but they aren’t always so easily available to acquire. If there is anything this front office has shown, it’s that it’s not married to draft picks or future assets.”
The Bulls will need to sharpen the roster to make it more attractive for LaVine to return next season. Vemu mentioned needing a “big athletic wing” and Hearn a “rim protector” for the future, with which I concur. 
Tristan Thompson, Troy Brown Jr., Derrick Jones Jr., and Matt Thomas are all free agents. The Bulls might let go of Thompson and Brown to search for a better “rim protector” and “big athletic wing,“ respectively.
The Bulls have plenty of work to do, which makes for an entertaining offseason at the very least.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Ryan Taylor

Hello! This issue focuses on Chicago Bulls news, film analysis, columns, and rumors. On an as-need publication basis, this newsletter will provide Chicago Bulls fans with interesting reads about their favorite NBA team.

As for myself, Ryan Taylor, I am a graduating senior from DePaul University studying journalism. I have worked several positions in sports writing with Lineups.com, Fansided, and Sports Mockery. I have reporting experience with The DePaulia too.

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