Coveted veteran free agent forward Paul Millsap has agreed to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The Bulls had been among a group of playoff contending teams to show interest in Millsap, and per Charania, the former All-Star considered Chicago before deciding to join Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden in Brooklyn.
With Millsap off the board and with Chicago still experiencing a gaping hole in frontcourt depth, the question now is where will the Bulls turn for backups to Patrick Williams at power forward?
Who Backs Up Patrick Williams at Power Forward?
Chicago seems intent on going with a smaller, quicker lineup by starting the 6’7″ Patrick Williams at power forward. He’ll still likely draw the toughest defensive assignments each night, such as the Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, Durant and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Bulls must wonder who spells Williams?
There is a lot of talk of the newly signed DeMar DeRozan playing some 4 when the Bulls go really small. I wrote about this previously, and NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson mentioned it after news of Millsap signing with the Nets broke.
That is a lineup or look-specific answer, but it does not solve the Bulls’ issue of a lack of size and strength with their bigs. Chicago will have Marko Simonovic this year, but it is still unclear how much of a role he will play in 2021-22, and if he’s more of a center than a power forward.
Simonovic did have a respectable summer league, but that is a far cry from the grind and the nightly competition he’d face if given a regular rotation role in the NBA.
Who else is available for Chicago?
What Are the Other Options For the Bulls?
Seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge’s name has been mentioned in association with the Bulls on multiple occasions. After all, Chicago originally drafted him before dealing his rights to the Portland Trail Blazers on draft night for Tyrus Thomas. That didn’t work out.
Aldridge signed with the Nets last year before retiring due to concerns about a heart condition. Well, Aldridge has thankfully received a clean bill of health, and is ready to get back on the court.
Unfortunately, the Nets are already favored to snatch up Aldridge as well, per Charania.
If Charania is correct and the Nets do secure Aldridge, the Bulls must dial it back another tier to find some depth.
Patrick Patterson is a name to consider. The 11-year veteran is 32 years old, stands 6’8, obviously has extensive experience from stints with the Toronto Raptors, Clippers, Sacramento Kings and he spent two years with Billy Donovan with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Patterson brings a three-point shooting element as well having made just under 36% of his attempts from long range last season and a shade under 37% for his career. It would appear he might be near the top of the Bulls’ list at this point.
Stay tuned as the depth on the frontcourt could be the final piece to the Bulls 2021-22 puzzle.