Waiving Goran Dragic unexpected, but right move by Bulls

Goran Dragic, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Goran Dragic, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

While the rest of the team was traveling to Canada to prepare for a contest against the Toronto Raptors, Goran Dragic was busy working with the front office to be released and move on to different pastures. This came as quite a surprise, considering Dragic was intended to be an important offseason addition and had yet to even play out a full season with the Chicago Bulls.

I graded the strange signing of Dragic an F back in July, which may have been harsh, but accurately reflected my sentiments regarding Goran’s potential role on the Bulls this season. For that reason, it comes as no particular surprise that Dragic struggled to maintain a foothold in the rotation. The 36-year-old veteran was brought aboard with the intention of being a Lonzo Ball stopgap, but he was clearly worse for wear, and now the addition of Patrick Beverley makes him entirely redundant.

Dragic played just 15 minutes per game for the Bulls, and despite looking genuinely very good for the first few weeks of the season, ultimately fizzled out and returned to the mean. He averaged 6.4 points and 2.7 assists per game for Chicago while shooting a poor 42.5% from the field.

To say that it was entirely unexpected wouldn’t exactly be true, as I did project Dragic to be the most likely casualty of the Beverley signing. Instead, the Bulls opted to release Tony Bradley instead, as he had also been buried in the rotation behind Nikola Vucevic, Andre Drummond, and Derrick Jones Jr.

Although Goran Dragic may have a little left in the tank, the Chicago Bulls were wise to move on in pursuit of a better fit.

Still, after waiving Tony Bradley, I had assumed the Bulls were happy with the current state of their roster and would be trusting this team to lead their pursuit of a second consecutive playoff appearance. Now, this decision opens up several intriguing possibilities, as the Bulls possess an open roster spot and could potentially make a move to acquire another piece.

Chicago now has plenty of options at its disposal on the free agent market. They could add depth at the wing with players like Eric Paschall, Moe Harkless, or Stanley Johnson. They could take a gamble at developing a young player like Sharife Cooper, Jared Butler, or Greg Brown. They could even double down on the veteran presence with Beverley by pursuing someone like Carmelo Anthony, John Wall, or DeMarcus Cousins.

It’s really impossible to gauge just where the front office’s mind is at, but we’ll provide updates here as this situation progresses.

Meanwhile, Dragic is now eligible to be claimed by any team through waivers, but a few destinations seem particularly likely. Miami is sure to be among the most interested suitors, as he’s been a valuable piece of Heat culture for a decade now and could potentially help address their point guard problems. Dallas could also throw their hat into the ring here, as Dragic and superstar Luka Doncic already have an established friendship through playing together internationally as the two best Slovenian basketball players of all time.

Things may have not worked out for Dragic on the Chicago Bulls, but he never gave fans a reason to wish him ill will (although Toronto may not feel the same, which feels ironic considering the two teams are set to play each other tonight). He was a consummate professional during his brief stint in the Windy City, and we wish him the best and good luck wherever he ends up in the end.

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