Bulls Insider

Bulls' free-agency primer: What you need to know

Management expresses confidence it can address team needs while retaining its own players

Artūras Karnišovas and Marc Eversley hope to have a successful foray into NBA free agency.

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

Shortly after last week's NBA Draft concluded, Chicago Bulls executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas fielded a question about his message to fans who may be disappointed that the franchise didn't make a bigger move beyond the addition of second-round selection Julian Phillips.

“They will have to wait until free agency to see what we look like after that," Karnišovas said.

The answer exuded confidence. Friday offers an opportunity for official action, not words. Here's everything you need to know about NBA free agency and the Bulls.

When does free agency start?

Teams can officially begin negotiations with players and their representatives at 5 p.m. Central on Friday, June 30, although, despite the league discouraging such practices, backchannel conversations and feelers occur before then. In fact, the Bulls forfeited a second-round pick after the league determined that management held improper conversations in the August 2021 Lonzo Ball sign-and-trade acquisitions.

Players can reach verbal agreements with teams immediately but can't officially sign a contract until the league moratorium ends at 11:01 p.m. Central on July 5.

How much can the Bulls spend?

Given salary-cap holds and qualifying offers, it's likely the Bulls operate as an "over-the-cap" team. That would allow them to use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which is projected to be roughly $12.4 million, and the biannual exception of $4.5 million.

The Bulls also can sign players to veteran minimum exceptions.

The luxury tax threshold is projected to land at $165 million. Karnišovas expressed confidence that ownership would allow him to exceed that figure should he need to, although the Bulls only have paid that tax once in franchise history.

What are the Bulls' goals?

Karnišovas has publicly stated his desire to re-sign Nikola Vucevic, Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu. The latter two guards will be restricted free agents after Karnišovas said the team will extend qualifying offers, giving the Bulls the right to match any offers they receive.

Vucevic will become an unrestricted agent on Friday night if an extension isn't reached before then. The Bulls still can re-sign him at that point; they just no longer will have exclusive negotiating rights.

Karnišovas and general manager Marc Eversley repeatedly talked about the desire to improve the Bulls' shooting. Last season, the Bulls represented the only NBA team not to attempt at least 30 3-pointers per game.

Given the fact that Karnišovas said Lonzo Ball isn't expected to play for the second straight season following cartilage replacement surgery on his left knee, the Bulls also may need to address the point guard position. That is, unless management follows through on its desire to re-sign White and Dosunmu and concludes they can man the position by committee.

Who are some potential targets?

While the full pool of free agents isn't fully determined yet based on team- and player-option decisions, here are groups of shooters and point guards that may be realistic targets. Check back later this week for more detailed breakdowns of potential targets.

Shooters: Max Strus, Joe Ingles, Gabe Vincent, Alec Burks (team option may be picked up by Pistons), Jevon Carter (player option), Donte DiVincenzo (player option), Seth Curry, Torrey Craig, Yuta Watanabe, Josh Richardson

Point guards: Patrick Beverley, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, Dennis Schroder, Vincent, Carter

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