Chicago Bulls: Noah Vonleh waived before he got a real chance

Noah Vonleh Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
Noah Vonleh Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports /

After just one preseason game played, news dropped early this week that the Chicago Bulls waived former Indiana Hoosiers big man Noah Vonleh.

Dec. 14 and 15 really wound up being tough days for the now former Chicago Bulls big man Noah Vonleh. A report surfaced on the Twitter timeline of Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports on Dec. 14 confirming that the Bulls had waived Vonleh. But on the same day, Vonleh released a statement after he had received his confirmed positive novel coronavirus test.

Getting waived and coming up with a positive COVID-19 test in what looks like the same 24 hour span is now the best news coming Vonleh’s way in the midst of the Bulls preseason slate.

At least in Vonleh’s case, the good news is that he is reportedly feeling well even as he enters a mandatory 10-day quarantine. There might be some correlation between Vonleh having to go into mandatory 10-day quarantine and getting waived simultaneously.

But when Vonleh was originally signed to a non-guaranteed deal a few weeks ago, he was facing an uphill battle to make the Bulls opening night roster. Since the Bulls still have the likes of center Luke Kornet and big man Cristiano Felicio on the books for guaranteed deals through the end of this season, Vonleh likely got squeezed out.

It is a shame that Vonleh didn’t get more of a chance to prove himself and make an impact out of the gates in his second stint with the Bulls. He had a chance in 21 games back during the 2017-18 regular season with the Bulls, but he ultimately wound up playing for three different teams that year.

In the one preseason game that Vonleh did play in with the Bulls this year, he registered 12 points (in less than a dozen minutes played), eight rebounds, no assists, no steals, and one block. And he shot 3-of-4 from the field, 0-of-1 from beyond the arc, and 6-of-9 from the free-throw line.

Vonleh actually had a pretty efficient preseason tip off with the Bulls this year, in what resulted in a 125-104 loss to the Houston Rockets at home at the United Center back on Dec. 11. He showed similar tendencies to the type of production and efficiency in his game with the Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves, from last season.

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The Bulls, now down Vonleh on the preseason roster, travel to face the Oklahoma City Thunder in two road games on Dec. 16 and 18. They will face the Thunder with a 1-1 preseason record, coming off a home win on Dec. 13 over the Rockets by the final score of 104-91.