The Bulls are expected to allow point guard C.J. Watson to become a free agent this summer, as Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle writes. Simmons indicates that the Bulls will decline a team option, but the Bulls don't possess an option. Instead, Watson's $3.2MM salary for the final season of his contract next year is not guaranteed if he's off the Bulls roster by July 10. So, it appears the Bulls will waive him before that deadline.
Earlier today we heard that Watson was more likely to return to the team than fellow reserves Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer, given Watson's ability to run the team in Derrick Rose's absence. With Rose likely sidelined for a significant portion of 2012/13 as he recovers from injury, the Bulls are reportedly looking into Steve Nash and Jason Kidd. If they let Watson go, that would be further indication that the team would go after an established veteran. John Lucas and Mike James also saw time at the point for Chicago last year, but neither is likely to be the starter come fall.
If he hits the open market, the 28-year-old Watson could be in line to make more than he would if the Bulls keep him around. He averaged 9.7 points and 4.1 assists in 23.7 a game going back and forth between the bench and the starting lineup as Rose struggled to stay healthy. Watson started 25 games in place of Rose, the 2010/11 MVP, and the Bulls still finished with the league's best regular season record.