2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Chicago Bulls

Hoops Rumors is looking ahead at the 2020/21 salary cap situations for all 30 NBA teams. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the NBA, it’s impossible to know yet where the cap for 2020/21 will land. Given the league’s lost revenue, we’re assuming for now that it will stay the same as the ’19/20 cap, but it’s entirely possible it will end up higher or lower than that.

Viewed as a potential playoff sleeper pick in the Eastern Conference entering the 2019/20 season, the Bulls made little forward progress. Presumed building block Lauri Markkanen had his worst year as a pro, newcomer Thaddeus Young didn’t fit in as planned, and starting small forward Otto Porter missed nearly the entire season with a foot injury.

The disappointing showing resulted in some front office changes for the Bulls, who fired Gar Forman, reassigned John Paxson, and hired Arturas Karnisovas as their new head of basketball operations. With 12 of 15 Chicago’s players under contract for 2020/21, Karnisovas may not have a ton of cap flexibility to make significant changes right away, so it will be interesting to see how many of the current pieces he retains and how soon he looks to put his own stamp on the roster.

Here’s where things stand for the Bulls financially in 2020/21, as we continue our Salary Cap Preview series:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

  • None

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Offseason Cap Outlook

With just shy of $78MM in guaranteed money on their 2020/21 books for 11 players, the Bulls seemingly could create cap room. However, adding Porter’s $28MM+ player option – which he’ll almost certainly exercise – and the cap hold for their No. 4 pick eliminates that potential space in a hurry.

As such, the Bulls figure to operate as an over-the-cap team, though they shouldn’t be anywhere close to the tax line. That means the club will have the full mid-level exception and bi-annual exception available this offseason.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Mid-level exception: $9,258,000 1
  • Bi-annual exception: $3,623,000 1


  1. This is a projected value.

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are based on the salary cap and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and Early Bird Rights was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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6 thoughts on “2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Chicago Bulls

  1. mcmillankmm

    I wonder where the Bulls stand with Dunn and Valentine…seemed like a lot of buzz at the deadline

    • stevep-4

      Bye bye to both I think, no re-up. But at 4.7 per they would have some trade value, so you never know.

  2. bravesfan88

    They will enter the next season with basically 8 quality players, albeit at varying degrees of effectiveness.

    The eight are Porter, Young, Carter Jr., Markkanen, White, LaVine, Dunn, and Sato. Then, they will also have the likes of Gafford, Hutchison, and Kornet plus whatever pick they’re able to get as potential rotation pieces to round out their depth.

    If they can stay healthy, then they could certainly be a 7th-8th seed in the playoffs with a better coach…

    The Bulls dont have any superstars, but guys like LaVine, Markkanen, White, and Carter Jr. are all solid young building blocks..Porter Jr., Sato, Young, and Dunn are all capable veterans that should be able to help support the younger players as well..

    I think the Bulls need to find a new coach, stay healthy, and then see what they truly have with this group as a unit. They can further add two more pieces in free agency and with their lottery pick, and then see what a real coach can do with this group..

    Boylen just does nothing for this group, so hopefully their next hire can actually implement a system and stick to it!!

    Here is to hoping anyways!! I have stuck by the Bulls side since the Jordan days, and it has been a tough and bumpy road since then..I just hope better days are ahead with a new front office!!

  3. tomjoadsghost

    We don’t know what the Bulls have. Boylen isn’t a teacher or coach, he’s a con man, any google search proves it. One year with a real coach to evaluate then next summer make changes.

  4. stevep-4

    Of your 8, Young wants out and he has trade value. If Markannen cannot be utilized properly, then they should also trade him. Dunn for 4.7 would be a worthwhile defensive role player. The rest are question marks as they all seem one way players.

    This is not a well designed roster and indeed I would trade any of them.

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