The Chicago Bulls are one of two teams that made no moves at the trade deadline. Now they appear likely to follow the other one, the Cleveland Cavaliers, into the buyout market. (The Cavs signed veteran wing Danny Green this week.)
The Bulls are not only Russell Westbrook, they have talked to representatives of fellow veteran guards John Wall and Patrick Beverley, according to NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson. While Westbrook is still under contract with the Utah Jazz and could decide not to accept a buyout, both Wall and Beverley are free agents, having been waived by the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic, respectively.for
NBC Sports Chicago previously reported that the Bulls, along with other potential Westbrook suitors, were in a holding pattern as he considers his options. This suggests that Wall and Beverley are possible fallback plans, and that guard Goran Dragic might not be long for Chicago. For the team to sign a free agent, it must first waive a player to open up a roster spot.
Dragic, 36, signed with the Bulls as a free agent last summer, and, for a few months, seemed like a good fit for their second unit. His production has declined in the 2023 calendar year, though, and missed Wednesday's game against the Indiana Pacers with left knee soreness.
Like Westbrook, the 32-year-old Wall would theoretically give Chicago a boost in transition. He's less turnover-prone than Westbrook, and he shot a respectable 35.3 percent on catch-and-shoot 3s in 34 games for the Los Angeles Clippers this season, but he's a similarly reluctant 3-point shooter and has similarly struggled to make pull-up 2s. Opponents ignore them both off the ball.
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Stylistically, Beverley would be a totally different type of free-agent addition. The 34-year-old Chicago native doesn't need the ball on offense, and he has at least some gravity spotting up behind the 3-point line. As a point-of-attack defender, he is worlds better than either Westbrook or Wall, but it's not clear that this is what the Bulls are looking for.
Through 58 games, Chicago has struggled immensely on offense and overachieved on defense. It has scored 111.8 points per 100 possessions (24th in the league) and allowed 111.9 (7th). One way to look at this is that the Bulls need to go get a playmaker like Westbrook or Wall, particularly with DeMar DeRozan hampered by a Grade 1 thigh sprain.
Another way to look at it: Chicago is the last team that should be in the market for a guard that doesn't stretch the floor, given that no team takes more long 2s or fewer 3s, per Cleaning The Glass. If spacing is the main problem, then Beverley is the best choice at both ends.