The whole point of the NBA free agency is to find the best fit in the wide pool of available players to improve the roster which is exactly what the Chicago Bulls have done.
In my opinion, they’ve done the best business in free agency so far despite falling under the radar to the Lakers who appear to be building a home for the elderly over there in LA.
DeMar DeRozan to the Chicago Bulls
The Bulls acquired DeMar DeRozan in a sign-and-trade with the Spurs on a three-year deal after already snapping up Lonzo Ball in a similar fashion for four years.
Sources: The San Antonio Spurs are finalizing sending DeMar DeRozan to the Chicago Bulls for Thad Young, a future first-round pick and two second-round picks. — Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 3, 2021
There was a lot of competition for DeRozan, a veteran, a multiple all-star guard, who’s versatile, and just what the Bulls needed to shore up the roster.
Bulls General Manager, Marc Eversley reportedly flew to Los Angeles to meet with DeRozan to convince him to choose Chicago, that’s how much they wanted him. It also helped that Eversley and DeRozan were already familiar with one another as he was the assistant General Manager of the Raptors when DeMar played in Toronto.
DeMar DeRozan brings much-needed experience to a predominantly young team, but don’t expect him to be just a paternal figure to Lonzo and Zach Lavine, he’s only 31 and can still play. He averaged 21 points, seven assists, and four rebounds per game in San Antonio last season, those numbers, added to what LaVine already does, could bring back the glory days to Chicago.
The Bulls starting five: Lonzo Ball Zach LaVine DeMar DeRozan Patrick Williams Nikola Vucevic pic.twitter.com/AUz5wDWuUB — StatMuse (@statmuse) August 3, 2021
Add to that the fact that they now have Alex Caruso and Coby White coming off the bench now and if they somehow find a way to re-sign Lauri Markkanen, the Chicago Bulls could make a deep playoff run next season.
Kendrick Nunn to the Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have had a busy offseason so far, completing the biggest trade by bringing Russell Westbrook to LA and signing multiple key free agents.
The Lakers used their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign former Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn to a two-year deal worth $10 million. Bringing in Nunn is probably the best piece of business done so far for multiple reasons.
First reason, Kendrick Nunn agreeing to $10 million over two years in the same week that Alex Caruso signed for $37 million in four years. That’s almost a miracle.
Free agent guard Kendrick Nunn has agreed to a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, source tells ESPN. Deal includes a player option. Nunn turned down significantly more money to chase a title with the Lakers. — Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 3, 2021
The 26-year old must really believe in the project, which is a good thing for the Lakers, and he’s exactly what they needed; a shooter who’s not on the brink of retirement. Kendrick Nunn averaged 15 points per game and shot 38% from beyond the arc last season in Miami.
One of his biggest contributions to LA is his youth. Nunn, Monk, and Mckinnie are the only Lakers additions below the age of 30.
Carmelo Anthony — 37 years old LeBron James – 36 years old Trevor Ariza – 36 years old Marc Gasol – 36 years old Dwight Howard – 35 years old (turning 36 Dec. 8) Wayne Ellington – 33 years old Kent Bazemore – 32 years old Russell Westbrook — 32 years old — Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) August 3, 2021
It will be refreshing for the Lakers fans to see a competent role player who didn’t play active basketball in Dirk Nowitzki‘s prime take the Staples Centre court.
Chris Paul re-signs with the Phoenix Suns
After turning down his $44 million player option, the thought that Chris Paul’s time in Phoenix was a one-and-done must have crossed the hearts of Suns fans. But it turns out the 36-year-old just wanted a bigger bag, which he got. $120 million gives Paul four more years to try and finally bring the championship to Phoenix.
Chris Paul has agreed to a four-year deal up to $120M with the Suns, per @ChrisBHaynes pic.twitter.com/uNOBz0oifq — Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 2, 2021
The Suns front office did the obvious but smart thing. It would have been foolish to demolish the team that lost in the finals to Milwaukee rather than just build on last season and hope to take it one step further.
Even from a financial point of view, this deal makes a lot of sense because it affords the Suns the room to further strengthen this season. If Paul can still make All-NBA second teams, like he did last season, then he can still earn top dollar.
Chris Paul will obviously earn more money over the next four years but his salary for next season will be lower than what he earned last season, freeing up more room beneath the luxury tax line.
As a result, they’ve been able to retain Cameron Payne on a three-year deal worth $19 million and could be acquiring more role players soon.
To be clear, the Suns have retained their starting point guard/leader and also somehow saved some money at the same time, fantastic business for all involved and NBA free agency is just getting started.
Featured Image via Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press