Chicago Bulls Rumors: Chicago Wise to Let Bench Players Walk
The Chicago Bulls appear to be letting Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson and Kyle Korver hit the free-agent market, but the team already has plans to replace them.
As K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports, the deadline to pick up options for Brewer and Watson is July 10 and Korver’s deadline is July 15. Johnson noted that the Bulls have already told Watson that he will not be back after next year and it is unlikely the other two players will be in Chicago for much longer.
As outlined in the article, Brewer is due $4.37 million, Watson is on the books for $3.2 million and Korver’s wage is set at $5 million.
Watson played the most important role of the three, as he filled in at point guard while Derrick Rose was injured. The 28-year-old started 25 games and averaged 9.7 points and 4.1 assists throughout the year.
But the Bulls are already grooming a new backup point guard after taking Marquis Teague at the end of the first round in June’s draft.
Teague won a national championship at Kentucky under John Calipari, who coached Rose in college.
Both Teague and Lucas are 6’2” and possess a similar skill set. Each player can attack the rim and pushed the tempo of the game. The former Wildcat is perfectly capable of stepping into Watson’s role.
The Bulls have drafted well in the past couple of years and Jimmy Butler, last year’s first-round pick, is the candidate to fill in for Brewer.
Again, both players are the same height (6’7”) and are remarkably similar. Butler and Brewer both struggle to score, but have great size for the shooting guard position and play extremely tough defense.
Which role player should Chicago retain?
That leaves Korver, for whom Chicago does not have an immediate and obvious replacement. This is why Johnson believes Korver is the only one of these three players who has a chance to return to the Bulls for the upcoming season.
Still, the Bulls signed Kirk Hinrich to give their bench some depth. Hinrich is versatile enough to play either guard position and is a proficient three-point shooter who has shot 37.8 percent from beyond the arc during his career.
He is not an exact replacement for Korver, but he can be effective on the floor if the sharpshooter leaves and Hinrich receives his minutes.
The Bulls may not be upgrading their bench this offseason, but they are not significantly downgrading it either. The front office is making the wise decision to find cheaper, younger replacements for the team’s role players.
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