According to Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York, the Knicks had “some interest” in pursuing Brewer.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bulls opted not to pick up the 27-year-old’s option, making him an unrestricted free agent. Johnson noted that Brewer would be open to returning to Chicago, although he would have to take a pay cut from $4.37 million he was set to make this season.
The ideal scenario for Chicago would involve Brewer signing back with the Bulls for less money. He is not an offensive force, but he excels defensively and works well in Tom Thibodeau’s system.
But this does not mean that the team should waste time or money trying to get him back. If Brewer does land in New York, the Bulls already have an ideal replacement on the roster.
The team selected Jimmy Butler out of Marquette in the first round of last year’s draft, and he is a nearly identical player to Brewer.
Brewer is a 6’7”, 227-pound shooting guard who, according to ESPN’s John Hollinger, is a “disruptive defender” but a “poor shooter with terrible form.”
Butler is a 6’7”, 220-pound shooting guard who Hollinger evaluates as a “big, overachieving wing who can play tough defense” but also “may struggle to score.”
The 22-year-old will be ready to step into Brewer’s role and play aggressive perimeter defense if the six-year veteran does not return.
The Bulls ownership has never been comfortable with going deep into the luxury tax and will be looking to save money. If Brewer is available for cheap, then the team will be interested.
But the team has made smart decisions and shown enough foresight in the draft to add replacements ahead of time. Now they can seamlessly transition to a different group of bench players while keeping the team salary under control.
The Bulls have made shrewd decisions so far this offseason, and they would be wise to continue this strategy and simply wait and see what happens with Brewer.