Chicago Bulls: 3 overseas players to consider signing in free agency

Nikola Mirotic, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Nikola Mirotic, Chicago Bulls Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Wang Zhelin (Photo by DI YIN/Getty Images)
Wang Zhelin (Photo by DI YIN/Getty Images) /

1) Chicago Bulls overseas free agent targets: Wang Zhelin

If Karnisovas and Eversley want to roll the dice a bit with a potential international big man signing that could have a lot of promise in the NBA still, then could look into the 7-foot and 250 pound center Fujian center Wang Zhelin. A signing of Zhelin means that the Bulls scouting department and front office digs pretty deep to find talent overseas, but it might be worth a shot.

As the MVP of the 2020 season in the CBA, Zhelin would be riding a serious wave of momentum coming overseas to try his hand in the NBA. He was originally a second round pick (57th overall) of the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2016 NBA Draft. But Zhelin never made his way to play in the NBA in the years after the Grizzlies drafted him.

And the Grizzlies do still maintain Zhelin’s draft rights if he were to make a move to the NBA. That would mean that the Bulls would have to pull off some type of sign-and-trade deal with the Grizzlies to get Zhelin to the Windy City. But given that he is a former second round draft pick from four years ago that has yet to make his NBA debut, it likely wouldn’t be all that challenging for the Bulls to get a deal like that done.

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Zhelin was really solid last season in 45 games played with Fujian in the CBA. He averaged 26.1 points per game, 11.9 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.1 blocks. And Zhelin shot 56.2 percent from the field, 25.7 percent from beyond the arc, and 66.5 percent from the free-throw line.

Since Zhelin is still just 26 years old, the Bulls would have a shot at developing and implementing his unique and versatile skill set into their system under newly hired former Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan if they feel this is the right fit.