Bulls’ Derrick Jones Jr. Declining 2023/24 Player Option

Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. plans to decline his player option for 2023/24 to become an unrestricted free agent, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Jones signed a two-year, $6.56MM contract with Chicago last summer that includes an opt-out decision after year one. His option for ’23/24 is worth a guaranteed $3.36MM.

The move comes as something of a surprise, as the 26-year-old told K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago in April that he planned to pick up the option to stay with the Bulls.

“Like I told coach (Billy Donovan) and everybody else, I’m locked in for two years. I didn’t sign for two years for no reason. So I’m here for two years,” Jones said. “I just gotta sit down with my agent and talk to him, figure things out. But I don’t see why not. I got no other plans, yet.”

As Jones implied at the end of that statement, plans can change, especially as players get closer to free agency. He must be confident he can exceed his option as a free agent — it’s worth noting that a seven-year veteran like Jones would earn a projected $2.7MM on a veteran’s minimum contract.

The Bulls have Jones’ Bird rights if they want to re-sign him to a new contract.

Jones appeared in 64 games for the Bulls this past season, averaging 5.0 points and 2.4 rebounds and shooting .500/.338/.738 in 14.0 minutes per night. With the exception of his three-point percentage, those numbers were all down from the ones he posted during his first year in Chicago in ’21/22.

In fact, Jones’ minutes, points and rebounds were all down when compared to his previous four seasons after becoming a rotation regular with Miami in ’18/19. The high-flying Jones is known as a strong, versatile defensive player, though he doesn’t provide much scoring or play-making on the other end.

Jones isn’t the only Bull with a $3.36MM player option for 2023/24. As our list of free agents by team shows, veteran center Andre Drummond will have to make a decision on an identical option.

We’re tracking all of this year’s player option decisions right here.

View Comments (15)