What to expect from the Bulls in tonight's NBA Draft

What to expect from the Bulls in tonight's NBA Draft
June 26, 2014, 9:30 am
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Kevin Anderson

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This year’s draft theme may be “Chaos Ensues.” Both the Rockets and Mavericks are already starting to set themselves up for free agency and tonight could see an unprecedented number of moves. The Bulls hope the NBA Draft is chaos free for them. Here’s a look at what to expect from Gar Forman and John Paxson and the odds for each scenario.

0.001% chance: Bulls keep both picks and take two American players.

I’d go even lower, but I think you get the point. Some fans would like to see the Bulls draft two very good players out of the mix of Rodney Hood, James Young, Tyler Ennis, or Adreian Payne, but it's not happening. The Bulls front office simply doesn't want to take the cap hit caused by selecting two first-round picks that would have to be on the 2014-15 roster. Both picks combine for a hit of $2.74 million and it would be nice to have two of those previously mentioned players, but the Bulls are keeping one eye on free agency.

[BULLS TALK: 2014 NBA first-round mock draft]

10% chance: Bulls trade for Kevin Love on draft night.

It’s possible, just not likely. Minnesota may come to the Bulls and accept a deal that includes both draft picks, Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy, and Jimmy Butler, but I’m not sure either team would pull the trigger. Golden State is still in play and the Timberwolves reportedly want quality rotation players over draft picks. Denver traded for Arron Afflalo earlier today and that move could be part of a larger package the Wolves and Nuggets are working on involving Love. Point is, Flip Saunders looks like he still has a lot of options, I would be surprised if Love gets moved tonight but if it happens, I don't think the Bulls will be on the receiving end.

20% chance: Bulls trade up in the draft to get Nik Stauskas or Doug McDermott.

This is a very intriguing move that makes a lot of sense for several reasons. They would save salary — and cap space — by packaging both the 16th and 19th pick to move up. The Bulls could theoretically ship both picks to Orlando for the 12th pick, but McDermott won’t be there, and it’s not likely Stauskas is either. In reality, the Bulls will need to pair both picks and send a player to either Sacramento at No. 8, or Charlotte at No. 9, to get either shooter.

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25% chance: Bulls trade one or both picks to move out of the draft.

This is a little more likely than trading up because the Bulls flat out don't want to keep both picks and you may see one or both picks traded for future first-round selections. I'd be pretty surprised if they traded out of the first-round completely, but I do think it is very plausible they make a pick at No. 16 and trade the No. 19 pick to create more cap space.

44.999% chance: Bulls use one pick on an American player and one on a European player.

This is the most likely scenario and who the Bulls take will speak volumes of what they plan to do in free agency. My belief is that the Bulls will use the No. 16 pick on either Hood or Payne, and use the No. 19 selection on either European player Dario Saric or Clint Capela. The reason the Bulls would take a European player is because they can enter an agreement with that player that they won't play in the NBA this season. That agreement would then allow the cap hold for that pick to come off the books, creating more cap space in free agency. The No. 16 pick is slotted at $1.47 million, and the No. 19 at $1.27 million.

[MORE DRAFT: Mark Schanowski's first round NBA mock draft]

The Bulls create cap space equal to the draft slot minus $507,000 (the roster charge for a minimum contract). Here is where who they take is just as important. The team could use a shooting guard or small forward with outside range, a pick of that type of player signals to me that Gibson is likely staying put on the roster. If the Bulls draft Payne, they are adding depth to the front court behind Gibson, and it's a pick that makes sense because Carlos Boozer likely won't be on the roster two weeks from now. However, drafting Payne also serves as insurance in case they need to ship Gibson out to create more cap space for a near-max free agent. Drafting Payne doesn't mean Gibson is gone, it just means the Bulls are going to be ready in case they feel that's the only route to get Carmelo Anthony.

Kevin Anderson is a coordinating producer for Comcast SportsNet. Follow Kevin on Twitter @CSNKevin.

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