Bulls News: Promising former first-rounder hits free agency

Andre Drummond, Usman Garuba, Chicago Bulls, 2023 NBA Free Agency (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Andre Drummond, Usman Garuba, Chicago Bulls, 2023 NBA Free Agency (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

As teams narrow down their rosters and prepare for the start of the 2023-24 season, a small opportunity has opened up for the most aggressive teams to add a few impact players. Among that mountain of players rests a small handful of genuine gems, but it’s up to the Chicago Bulls to sniff them out before their opposition does.

Fortunately, they shouldn’t have to look too far, as a very intriguing big man has just hit waivers and might find himself fielding several offers very soon. That player is Usman Garuba, who was just waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Exiting the dog days of the summer with well over 20 players on the roster, the Thunder were forced to drop quite a few talented players from their roster, including Garuba.

Averaging just 2.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in his first two seasons of the league, Garuba has by and large been deemed as a disappointment. I’m not sure that’s really his fault, however, as a poorly constructed roster and rotation in Houston left the young talent bereft of any opportunities to prove himself. His defensive and rebounding upside would be far more appreciated on a team like the Bulls.

The Bulls should monitor the free agent status of recently waived big man Usman Garuba.

If the Bulls were to sign the young talent, he’d instantly slot in as the second-string power forward and third-string center. Since the Bulls only have one player between 6’6″ and 6’9″ on the roster, Usman’s positional flexibility would undoubtedly be rewarded with additional minutes. Best of all, Garuba could likely be acquired for cheap so that the front office can continue ducking the luxury tax and pleasing the Bulls’ penny-pinching ownership.

Unfortunately, the Bulls are currently at capacity with their 15 main roster spots and 3 two-way contracts. I don’t expect Garuba to accept a two-way offer when he’ll likely have several suitors, which means one of either Carlik Jones or the recently-signed Terry Taylor would be a casualty of this move if it were to actually happen.

Although Carlik looked quite promising when he won the G League MVP award with averages of 26.1 points and 7 assists per game, this Bulls team already has a stacked backcourt and is in desperate need of frontcourt depth. Taylor, on the other hand, is two and a half years older, three inches shorter,

For those reasons, Chicago making a move like this may not be all that farfetched as it seems. I’d keep a close eye on Garuba as this story develops, just in case the Bulls decide to shake the roster up one last time ahead of the 2023-24 season.

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