Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
The Chicago Bulls are waiving seldom-used forward Marko Simonović in advance of the Friday date that his contract became guaranteed for 2023-24. A team spokesperson confirmed the news, which was widely expected for weeks.
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Simonović, a second-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, logged just 55 mop-up minutes over his two NBA seasons. If he had been on the roster as of Friday, his $1.84 million deal would've become guaranteed for the season.
The NBA's moratorium on free-agent signings ended at 11:01 am Central on Friday, but the Bulls had yet to officially announce any transactions. Whenever they do acknowledge the agreed-upon deals for Coby White, Jevon Carter and Torrey Craig, as well as sign draft-night acquisition Julian Phillips, they project to have 12 guaranteed contracts for 2023-24.
The Bulls also have extended a $5.2 million qualifying offer on guard Ayo Dosunmu, making the local product a restricted free agent. The delay on his potential re-signing can be read one of three ways. Either the Bulls are trying to drive his annual salary down in perhaps a longer-term deal, saving him as a potential sign-and-trade asset or waiting to see what the market dictates his price is before deciding whether or not to match his offer.
Bulls management publicly has said it wants to retain Dosunmu. But that was before verbally agreeing to a deal with Carter, who is one of six guards on the roster.
Technically, Carlik Jones, a seventh guard, remains on the roster as well, although his contract doesn't become fully guaranteed until into next season. So no decision on his future has to be made for now as he could become salary filler in any potential offseason trade.
If Dosunmu returns and plays on his qualifying offer, the Bulls currently sit roughly $6 million below the luxury tax threshold of $165.3 million. They also face a hard cap of $172.3 million.
After making relatively quick splashes in free agency to re-sign White and verbally agree to terms with Carter and Craig, the Bulls have been quiet since July 3.
Until the Damian Lillard and James Harden situations are resolved, which could take weeks or months or, less likely, with both players returning to their respective teams for training camp, many teams will slow-pedal their remaining business. The logical thinking would be that players available for minimum contracts now will still be available later in the offseason, and any potential Lillard or Harden trade could present currently unforeseen opportunities---either directly or in a multi-team situation.
Barring any significant move, coach Billy Donovan and his staff project to have a nine-man rotation of Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, Patrick Williams, Alex Caruso, Andre Drummond, White, Carter and Craig---with some likely spot minutes for either Terry or Phillips.