Just hours after striking out in their pursuit of former Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, the Chicago Bulls rebounded as well as they possibly could by adding Westbrook’s own backcourt partner, the infamous Patrick Beverley to the roster. Perhaps even a better basketball fit with this Bulls team than Westbrook himself, Beverley will return to his hometown in hopes of addressing Chicago’s deficiencies at the point position.
Chicago’s Arturas Karnisovas said he would look ahead to the buyout market after failing to improve at the trade deadline, and received a great deal of hostility for his decision. I think he did as well as he could here, however, as Beverley was undoubtedly one of the premiere buyout targets this season.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN was the first to break this news, with Beverley himself testifying to the truthfulness of the report soon after.
The deal is expected to be completed as soon as tomorrow, but the Bulls will have to clear roster space first. Since Chicago is loaded up with 15 players, they’ll need to cut at least one player to finish this signing. Fortunately, Malcolm Hill and Carlik Jones can rest easy as their two-way deals don’t take up an official roster spot. I expect these three fringe players in the Bulls’ rotation to be on the chopping block instead.
With 15 players on the full-time roster, the Chicago Bulls must waive someone if they wish to proceed with their signing of Patrick Beverley.
3. Tony Bradley
As the third big in Chicago’s rotation, Tony Bradley has sparsely seen the court this season. To make matters worse, Billy Donovan has often preferred to go small with Derrick Jones Jr. at the five instead of rolling out a traditional big man. Bradley’s opportunities have been limited, but it’s understandable when you take into consideration his physical limitations have been more responsible in keeping him off the court than any of Donovan’s scheme preferences.
That being said, Bradley is great insurance to have around in the event Nikola Vucevic or Andre Drummond get injured. I think the Bulls will keep him around for now, even if they’d probably prefer not to have to play him.
2. Marko Simonovic
As a mid-second-round pick in 2020, Marko Simonovic was nothing more than a lottery ticket the Bulls were hoping they could develop into a true role player one day. So far, that hasn’t panned out, and Marko is pretty clearly the worst player on this Bulls roster right now. He’s logged just 40 total minutes of play time since being drafted nearly three years ago, and has spent the majority of that time bouncing back and forth between the NBA and the G League. Still, he has one more unguaranteed year left on his deal after this season, so maybe the front office convinces themselves to be patient with the former All-Summer League Second Team talent.
1. Goran Dragic
Make no mistake, Goran Dragic is far from the worst this Chicago Bulls team has to offer. That being said, the nearly 37-year-old veteran is clearly over the hump and will now be made redundant with the addition of Beverley. Buried behind Beverley and current Bulls guards Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu, there just won’t be any minutes left over for Goran to chew into.
If I had to bet, Chicago will almost certainly waive Dragic and hope Pat can replace his 6.4 points and 2.7 assists per game. This will also grant Goran the chance to decide his own fate in free agency, where he could even consider making a return to the team where he made his name in the NBA with the Miami Heat. This looks to potentially be a win-win scenario for everyone involved, and I can’t be mad about that.