2. With Gafford, re-signing Lopez isn’t as crucial of an offseason goal
There’s something to be said about locker room dynamics and the impact veteran leadership can have. Robin Lopez proved indispensable in that regard, especially in the near-mutiny over head coach Jim Boylen’s early tenure practice drills.
Despite his positive influence on the roster, Lopez may choose to go somewhere else this offseason. At this stage in his career and with his ability to impact games off the bench, he may find himself a nice deal on a contending team. Drafting Gafford means the front office won’t unnecessarily find themselves in a bidding war for the veteran center.
Besides his defensive abilities, Gafford posted strong numbers offensively, shooting 66 percent from the field last season. He won’t be asked to do much with the Bulls and should find his niche looking for lobs from White and LaVine.
The young big man will find plenty of opportunities on a squad that featured just Cristiano Felicio as the only other center behind Carter and Lopez last season. With Gafford in the mix, the team can focus more on their rebuilding project if Lopez is wooed away from Chicago this summer.