With season closing, which Chicago Bulls won't be back next year?
The rebuilding season will reach its conclusion when the Bulls host Detroit on Wednesday.
Should we be ready to bid anyone farewell?
Coach Fred Hoiberg's job security doesn't appear to be an issue and most players on the roster are under contract for next season, many at a reasonable price.
Do not expect the Bulls to be players in free-agency this summer. Their top priorities will be re-signing restricted free agents Zach LaVine and David Nwaba.
So it's not a stretch to predict the only newcomers on the Bulls' roster next season will be the two first-round draft picks. But they will have to thin out a few spots. So here's a preview of decisions to be made and who might be gone:
Backup point guard
Cameron Payne and Jerian Grant are both under contract for next season and neither one is going to have a ton of trade value. So it's not out of the question for both to return, but would the Bulls prefer to pick one as the primary backup to Kris Dunn?
Given a chance to start 13 games at point guard late this season, Payne has performed reasonably well. He fits into what Hoiberg wants to do by pushing the pace and his assist-to-turnover ratio has been pretty good. Payne's 3-point shot is falling (38 percent), but he hasn't been getting to the rim very often off the drive.
Grant's season seems easy to summarize. He was pretty good coming off the bench, not as successful when asked to start at point guard. But the actual numbers complicate the issue. Grant averaged 6.3 assists in 26 games as a starter and shot much better from 3-point range. There are times when Grant's outside shot seems to be a strength, but his 3-point percentage for the season is just .331.
This battle could continue into training camp and it appears Payne holds a slight lead at the moment. If the Bulls can bring back Ryan Arcidiacono as a two-way player to serve as an extra backup point guard, they probably will. The former Villanova star made huge strides as an NBA player from his early-season appearances to now.
Antonio Blakeney led the G-League in scoring, but probably didn't show enough at the NBA level to prompt the Bulls to give him a roster spot for next season. So he could spend the summer in limbo, waiting to see if another team is willing to offer an NBA contract. Returning to the Bulls as a two-way player figures to be on the table.
Sean Kilpatrick has provided an interesting challenge to the Bulls' roster construction. Late-season performance can be misleading, but in the past five games, he's averaged 19 points, shot 49 percent overall and 50 percent from 3-point range.
Kilpatrick signed up for two non-guaranteed seasons when he joined the Bulls on March 26. That's done in part to make him available for a trade this summer, but the Bulls have to keep him mind for a roster spot next season based on his recent performance.
In general, this is a tricky spot, since Denzel Valentine and Nwaba are capable of playing either wing position, and Jerian Grant can also slide over from point guard.
If the Bulls select a small forward in the draft, they could try to move Justin Holiday. He's owed a reasonable $4.4 million next season and could have some value around the league as a streaky 3-point shooter. The Bulls will want to keep vacancies in the lineup for Valentine and Nwaba.
The other veteran, center Robin Lopez, figures to stick around. Considering how difficult it was to trade Nikola Mirotic this year, the Bulls probably wouldn't get much in return for Lopez, considering he's owed $14.4 million next season.
Lopez had arguably his best NBA season before being mostly shut down after the all-star break and the Bulls like him as a team leader. Hoiberg delivered an unsolicited plug on Tuesday, calling Lopez as important as anyone during the Bulls' 14-7 surge in December and January.
Beyond that, the only real question mark is Noah Vonleh, a free agent who showed some signs during his late-season run with the Bulls. But he's not going to be any team's high priority.