Tristan Thompson immediately bolsters Bulls’ frontcourt depth

Tristan Thompson (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Tristan Thompson (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

On Feb. 16, the Chicago Bulls made their first big move on the buyout market to try and help their team just ahead of the All-Star Break. The Bulls added the former Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers big man Tristan Thompson by way of the buyout market on Feb. 16.

The Bulls adding Thompson to their roster was confirmed by multiple reports, including Shams Charania of The Athletic/Stadium on his Twitter timeline on the night of Feb. 16. It now looks like the Bulls will be able to officially add Thompson once he clears waivers.

Thompson was waived by the Pacers following a trade with the Kings last week. He was involved in one of the biggest moves of trade deadline week where the Pacers shipped off star big man Domantas Sabonis, and wings Justin Holiday and Jeremy Lamb to Sacramento. In return, the Kings sent young standout point guard Tyrese Haliburton, sharpshooting guard Buddy Hield, and Thompson to the Pacers.

Chicago Bulls get needed frontcourt help by signing Tristan Thompson

So far, the only player that was a part of that trade between the Kings and Pacers last week that hit the buyout market is Thompson.

While it’s not official at the moment, it sounds like the Bulls are likely to waive the recently signed forward Alfonzo McKinnie once they officially add Thompson to the roster. K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago mentioned in a tweet on Feb. 16 that the Bulls could also waive sharpshooting guard Matt Thomas, but that would be less likely.

This move looks like it will help the Bulls fill out their frontcourt unit for the stretch run of the season. The Bulls were seeking help in their frontcourt unit at the trade deadline and didn’t make any moves then. That left the Bulls still looking for essentially a backup center on the buyout market.

And the Bulls got to fill that role with a quality addition to the rotation that should be able to help out their second frontcourt unit on both ends of the floor. Thompson is an efficient rebounder and solid inside scorer.

While Thompson isn’t the best rim protector out there, he certainly helps out the Bulls right away in terms of winning the battle on the boards. He’s also a more capable and proven scorer on the inside compared to the likes of current backup center Tony Bradley and/or rookie big man Marko Simonovic.

It was just a few years ago that Thompson was regularly averaging a double-double per game with the Cleveland Cavaliers. As recently as the 2019-20 season, Thompson was averaging around a dozen points per game, 10 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and one block.

Thompson can also bring some valuable postseason experience to the table for the Bulls. He’s got 70 postseason starts and 83 total games played under his belt in his career to date. No other big man on the current Bulls roster even has half that amount of postseason starts or games played.

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Heading into the All-Star Break, the Bulls are now sitting on a record of 38-21 following their home win over the Kings on Feb. 16. The Bulls will now have a rejuvenated frontcourt unit after the addition of Thompson once the All-Star Break concludes next week.