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NBA analyst suggests Bulls make blockbuster signing with Chris Paul this offseason. Here's why

NBA analyst suggests Bulls make blockbuster signing with Chris Paul this offseason. Here's why originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Vice President Artūras Karnišovas and the Bulls' front office are faced with a ton of questions as they approach a pivotal offseason.

Should/will they re-sign DeMar DeRozan? Will they pull the trigger on a trade to send away Zach LaVine? How will they approach Patrick Williams' pending free agency?

Above it all, Lonzo Ball is projecting he will be available for the team's first game of the regular season after missing over 2.5 years because of three separate knee surgeries since January 2022.

To help amend the Bulls' offseason dilemmas, ESPN's NBA writer Chris Herring suggests the team makes a splash in free agency.

"Even if Ball is able to come back now that he's had a meniscus transplant, Chicago is going to need a table setter, either to serve as a starter as Ball eases into things or to relieve him and play decent minutes," he wrote. "And who better to do that than [Chris] Paul, who, even as he nears the age of 40, is still a solid offensive player."

Herring's point is justified; the Bulls don't possess a true half-court organizer. That used to be Ball, who could organize the floor from a half-court to a full-court setting. But even if he does return to the floor for the Bulls' first game, there's no guarantee he'll be the same player.

The Bulls could find that in Paul, who's inarguably one of the smartest players to play the game of basketball. He's well-known for his exceptional IQ and facilitating abilities. He would make a strong addition to any team in the NBA, but especially to the Bulls, who are without a strong facilitator.

With the Warriors last season, Paul came off the bench, starting just 18 of the 58 games he played for the team. That could motivate the team to waive him before June 28 to avoid paying him the $30 million he's slated to earn this season.

But the Bulls, as aforementioned at the top, have a lot of questions to answer first before exploring new additions. Their decisions for DeRozan, LaVine and Williams will dictate whether or not they will have the cap flexibility to make major additions in free agency this summer.

Should they bring back all three, they will undoubtedly have zero room to bring on a player to the caliber of Paul's. But if they --- for some reason --- rid all three players, their cap space will increase dramatically enough for them to sign a major player in the offseason.

The question is --- what direction are the Bulls aiming to go? They've been attempting a competitive window since 2021 when the Bulls acquired Ball, DeRozan, Alex Caruso in the summer and Nikola Vucevic at the prior trade deadline. But after missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons, Karnišovas admitted change is on the horizon.

“I’ve said numerous times today: This group, something doesn’t work," he said in April. "I have to find ways to find a group that’s going to make improvements. We’ve done it for a couple years now and it hasn’t worked,” Karnišovas said. “Everything is on the table."

“I am going to look at totality of the group. This group hasn’t worked. There’s a lot of great things in certain individual players and a lot of young guys who took a step forward and it’s positive. But in totality as a group, it didn’t work. So I’m going to have to find these answers in offseason.”

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