Tue. Nov 19th, 2019

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What if the Chicago Bulls hold on to Kris Dunn, for now?

4 min read

Kris Dunn has been the subject of rumors throughout the offseason. What if the Chicago Bulls hold on to him, for now at least?

It was never a secret that the Chicago Bulls front office wanted to upgrade the point guard position this offseason. After all, Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson came out firing at the onset of the summer. He kicked off the offseason by discussing the importance of Kris Dunn‘s improvement this summer. He wasn’t exactly wrong. Dunn’s play has been uneven for much of his NBA career, and the 2018-19 season was the latest evidence.

The Bulls stayed true to plan, drafting a point guard in the NBA Draft, and then securing another one in free agency. They weren’t kidding around.

The Bulls drafted Coby White, a 19-year-old point guard from North Carolina and signed Tomas Satoransky away from the Washington Wizards in free agency.

It’s been assumed that Dunn’s time in Chicago is all but over. It would make sense to move on from the former Providence College star. The Chicago Bulls currently have 16 guaranteed contracts, one over the maximum allowed. The Bulls also have five point guards. It would seem that moving Dunn is the logical decision and likely next transaction.

Kris Dunn might actually stay with the Chicago Bulls

So far, Dunn has remained a member of the Chicago Bulls. At this point in the summer, we can’t just assume Dunn’s time in the Windy City is over. Let’s be honest, it’s not like the front office hasn’t been trying to move him all summer. What if they simply can’t?

Dunn’s trade value remains quite low and just dumping him to get rid of him doesn’t make a ton of sense. Besides, the team can just move on from Antonio Blakeney to get to 15 roster spots. Even as Dunn’s value isn’t very high to other teams, Blakeney’s value is even lower.

So what if the Bulls keep Dunn?

He likely wouldn’t be the opening night starter so let’s just forget about what head coach Jim Boylen said. They didn’t bring in Satoransky to be a backup this season.

It’s likely that Boylen was making an attempt to keep the level of trust between him and Dunn at a manageable level, as was Paxson’s insistence that they haven’t given up on the guard entering his third season in Chicago.

“We have not given up on Kris,” vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said. “I think he has defensive abilities. But we have to get better at that position — there’s absolutely no question in my mind. He has an opportunity this summer to improve his game, come back with the mindset of being a true push guard, getting us to play with pace. I do see our starting lineup with three legitimate three-point shooters in Zach [LaVine], Lauri [Markkanen] and Otto [Porter], [so] a point guard who can get those guys opportunities will be a priority.” Joe Cowley Chicago Sun-Times April 14, 2019

If Dunn stays, what does that mean for the roster?

With Dunn, Satoransky, White, Ryan Arcidiacono and Shaquille Harrison, the Bulls currently have a glut at the point guard position. If Dunn is on the team for opening night, it’s likely due to a lack of interest league-wide more than Chicago being unwilling to part with him.

If he’s on the roster, Dunn will have to play. For one, the team will need to boost his trade value and secondly, he’s still a good option off the bench. While Dunn doesn’t really mesh well with Zach LaVine, he should be adequate (at worst) running the second unit. Realistically, he’s still a better option than either Arcidiacono or Harrison.

The concept of Dunn playing off the ball makes little sense, he’s just hasn’t shown the ability yet. While Satoransky could play all wing positions, at this point Dunn is most viable as a lead guard.

The biggest issue with Kris Dunn returning would be the diminished development of Coby White. If Dunn is playing, that means White isn’t and that would seem to be an unacceptable scenario for a top-10 draft pick. The rookie from North Carolina should see around 18-22 minutes per game at a minimum. There shouldn’t be an expectation on him to start in his first season in the NBA, but he also shouldn’t be relegated to a limited bench role.

It’d still be a surprise to see Kris Dunn as a Chicago Bull

At this point, a fresh start seems to make the most sense for the 25-year-old Connecticut native. He’s a sunk cost at this point, the Bulls aren’t going to see a proper return for him.

He still could contribute to an NBA team, he’s still a good defender and it’s not too late for him to improve. The Bulls have seemingly paved the way for that fresh start this offseason, all that’s left is the final transaction.

It’s likely that Chicago would only receive a second-round pick as compensation for Dunn, but with the moves the team has already made, it might make the most sense. Perhaps a team like the Phoenix Suns could still have use for a backup point guard, or even the Charlotte Hornets because really, are they that convinced Terry Rozier can carry that team?

In any event, it’s probably time for the Chicago Bulls to cut their losses with Kris Dunn.

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