Chicago Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas knows he has work to do when it comes to retooling the roster after a disappointing 2020-21 season. Karnisovas even acknowledged he wasn’t done making significant moves in the immediate aftermath of the trade deadline, and it only became more apparent when the Bulls missed out on the play-in tournament.

Chicago has two All-Stars in Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic, but more talent is needed to be considered a serious threat. As Karnisovas looks to turn over more of the roster, he has some decisions to make on a handful of key rotation veterans this offseason. Al-Farouq Aminu and the player option worth over $10 million he’s picking up don’t count as key here because he doesn’t play much, but the Bulls are hoping to get off that deal.

Daniel Theis



Vucevic was the prize acquisition before the trade deadline, but the Bulls also made a move to add veteran frontcourt depth by acquiring Theis from the Boston Celtics. While Daniel Gafford’s breakout with the Washington Wizards has some questioning this trade, which also brought Troy Brown Jr. and Javonte Green to Chicago, it still made sense to acquire a solid veteran in Theis.

Theis wound up starting next to Vucevic and provided steady two-way play and much-needed toughness. While Theis’ on-court net rating with the Bulls wound up being awful ( minus-8.0 in 574 minutes ), there was a lot of weirdness after the trade deadline that contributed to this.

The 29-year-old is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and is worth retaining, but there are complications. Theis will have other suitors, including the Charlotte Hornets, per NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson .

According to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype , people around the NBA believe Theis can garner a deal worth above the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which is right around his $9.5 million cap hold number. A bidding war for Theis’ services wouldn’t be ideal for Chicago given he should be a backup on this team.

The Bulls do have Theis’ Bird rights, so they could use those as an over-the-cap team to re-sign him if they wanted to pay up. But if they want to create cap space, they may have to renounce his $9.5 million cap hold. In that scenario, basically the only way he would be able to return is by signing the room exception, which is projected to be around $4.9 million. That almost certainly wouldn’t get the job done.

The Bulls would like to keep Theis, but there are no guarantees.

Garrett Temple



Temple was the lone notable signing in free agency last offseason, and he turned out to be a pretty important player because of the lack of quality wings on the roster. The veteran got off to a hot start before cooling off and also missing some time due to injuries, and Chicago missed him when he was out.

The Bulls signed Temple for just under $4.8 million last summer and could offer him a salary starting at up to $120% of that number (around $5.7 million), which is what his cap hold is. That’s too much for an average 35-year-old wing, but bringing him back on the cheap to be a deeper bench option wouldn’t be a bad move. His veteran leadership and general competence would be good to keep around. Chicago just can’t be relying on him so much to win games.

There’s also the chance the Bulls just move on from Temple. This would be perfectly reasonable, especially if they’re doing so to clear cap space for an upgrade and he doesn’t want to come back on the cheap.

Thaddeus Young



Young isn’t a free agent at the moment, but he has a partially guaranteed contract. $6 million of his $14.19 million for 2021-22 is guaranteed, and his guarantee date is set for right before free agency begins at the start of August.

The Bulls opted against trading Young amid arguably a career-best season. Keeping the 32-year-old would seem like a no-brainer given how effective he was last season, but he could be a cap casualty if Chicago needs to use cap space for a big signing.

If the Bulls stay over the cap, Young should stay unless they need to use him as a trade chip for an upgrade. As good as Young was last season, there’s always the concern of a regression, so his spot isn’t locked in by any means.

Tomas Satoransky



Like Young, Satoransky has a partially guaranteed contract. His $10 million salary for 2021-22 is $5 million guaranteed.

Sato was much more efficient this season after struggling as the starter in 2019-20. He’s not a bad option as a bench guard and could very well be back.

However, the Bulls know they need an upgrade at point guard, especially with Coby White’s shoulder injury , and they could look to totally revamp the room. Sato’s lack of dynamic play at the position has been an issue, even if he’s a smart passer and solid shooter.

The guess here is the Bulls move on from Satoransky, whether it’s by not guaranteeing the rest of his contract and waiving him or trading him. They need to try something else to improve their offense.