By Cody Westerlund–
(CBS) The Bulls have re-signed big man Cris Felicio to a four-year deal, a source confirmed late Friday night as NBA free agency opened.
The deal contains no player or team options and is worth a reported $32 million. As the Bulls have embarked on a new direction with last week’s trade of Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves, they’d made the 24-year-old Felicio a priority in free agency, believing he’s a player who fits the rebuilding timeline.
Felicio averaged 4.8 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting 57.9 percent in 15.8 minutes per game in 2016-’17, and the Bulls have often lauded his defensive potential.
A native of Brazil, Felicio latched on with the Bulls after impressing them in Summer League in 2015 and their ensuing training camp.
With Felicio locked in, the Bulls have around $68 million in financial commitments for next season. The salary cap was set at just a shade over $99 million.
Chicago still hopes to bring back power forward Nikola Mirotic, another restricted free agent. His cap hold and that of power forward Joffrey Lauvergne have left the the Bulls with around $15 million in cap space. Chicago could renounce that cap space if it wants and instead move forward with salary cap exceptions. The benefit of that would be that it would have nearly 12 full months to utilize the $15 million trade exception it owns from the recently completed Butler trade. That would potentially allow the Bulls to absorb a bad contract from another team with an asset attached — without sending out matching salary.
Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for CBSChicago.com and covers the Bulls. He’s also the co-host of the @LockedOnBulls podcast, which you can subscribe to on iTunes and Stitcher. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.