While many fans patiently await news of another potential big move from the Chicago Bulls, the team has instead dropped some unfortunate news with the decision to waive Marko Simonovic before the onset of the 2023-24 season. While this news does open up yet another hole in the roster worth filling, this move may indicate the front office is truly committed to doing whatever it takes to field a truly competitive team.
Despite earning All-Summer League Second Team honors in 2022, Simonovic was unable to relay that success to a full-time gig with the Bulls. In two seasons with Chicago, Marko participated in just 16 games for a total of 55 minutes.
Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news of Chicago’s decision to part ways with the Montenegrin talent earlier tonight.
Waiving Marko Simonovic opens up an interesting opportunity for the Bulls this offseason.
Although he wasn’t expected to sustain much statistical production in his limited minutes — averaging just 1.4 points and 0.8 rebounds in 3.4 minutes of garbage time per game played — what’s particularly worrying is that he displayed very poor efficiency and defense against bigger, stronger competition. Simonovic shot 6-for-22 from the field (27.3%) and posted a putrid -3.8 DBPM in his admittedly small sample size of minutes.
What’s particularly interesting here, is the implication it has for the Bulls’ roster moving forward. Chicago currently has 12 players on the payroll for next season, including Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, Nikola Vucevic, Coby White, Patrick Williams, Alex Caruso, Jevon Carter, Andre Drummond, Dalen Terry, Torrey Craig, and Julian Phillips. Assuming the Bulls intend to re-sign Ayo Dosunmu and don’t waive Carlik Jones ahead of the start of next season, that brings the total to 14.
Which means the decision to waive Simonovic has effectively opened up one roster spot for the Bulls to utilize in free agency. Chicago still has plenty of avenues left to bring in a quality role player, either through the Bi-Annual Exception, the Disabled Player Exception (if granted), or a sign-and-trade scenario.
After waiving Simonovic, the Bulls only have two centers and two players taller than 6-foot-7 left on the roster. I’d expect Chicago to pursue either a versatile forward or depth at the center position with their final roster slot. Some popular candidates for the role have already emerged, such as Christian Wood, P.J. Washington, Kelly Oubre, Paul Reed, and many more. The Bulls must move quickly if they wish to secure one of the top remaining free agents of 2023.