Target #1: Ayo Dosunmu, Chicago Bulls
Dosunmu is a 24-year-old 6’5” shooting guard who was drafted by Chicago in the second round out of Illinois, where he was a consensus first-team All-American in 2021. In his third year in the NBA, Dosunmu has shown flashes at different points in his career, but hasn’t been able to carve out a major role, and has even seen his minutes shrink every year.
Yet there are reasons for optimism that in a different role, Dosunmu could thrive. For one, he has the size and athleticism to fit perfectly as an off-guard between Ball and Miller. He’s shooting a career-high 38% from 3 and over 80% from the FT line, so the stroke is pure.
He has been pretty efficient scoring at all levels, as he can get to the basket off the dribble, and is a capable secondary creator. He’s also been a capable defender and should be able to lean into that role and focus on becoming a true stopper on that end.
Plus, Dosunmu was one of the best players in the country in his Junior year of college, dominating the Big 10. We often see players like this struggle to accept a lesser role at the next level, and that could be the case with Ayo. There is plenty of reason to believe that he could settle in as an excellent two-way role player on a winning team, and at just 24, he would fit the Hornets' timeline.
Nobody seems to know exactly what the Bulls are doing, but they should be open for business and it doesn’t seem like Dosunmu is a big part of their plans. He’s in the first year of a very reasonable 3-year, $21 million contract, so making the money work would be easy enough.
If the Bulls just want to shed the money, the Hornets could just send out an expiring contract and absorb Dosunmu and other players. Maybe the Bulls would settle for a protected second-round pick or something similar. Or maybe there’s a player on the Hornets they like more, like Cody Martin. If the cost is reasonable and the player is available, this would be an awesome flier for Charlotte.