Bulls sign former No. 3 pick to last-minute training camp deal

Derrick Favors, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Derrick Favors, Chicago Bulls (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The start of the 2023-24 NBA season is just a week away, and it seems the Chicago Bulls are surprisingly not done making moves just yet. After waiving Max Heidegger and Henri Drell earlier in the week, it seemed the Bulls were preparing to lock in their roster for the year. The front office decided to go another route, however, as they’ve now announced two further signings to the training camp roster in Derrick Favors and Kahlil Whitney.

Favors is a particularly interesting move here, as he brings a wealth of NBA experience with him as a veteran of 12 seasons and a former top-3 draft pick in 2010. That draft has proven to endure the test of time, as Paul George, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Gordon Hayward, Evan Turner, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Greg Monroe were also all drafted in the top 10 and enjoyed a longevity of at least a decade in the league. That’s an 80% hit rate to land a decent player in the top 10, something you don’t see all that often.

He won’t be joining the team alone, however, as Favors will also be joined by Kahlil Whitney, a former Kentucky Wildcat who went undrafted in 2020. With the NBA season set to tip off on October 25, both players will have limited time to make a strong impression in Chicago.

Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic first reported on the pair of training camp signings, with the Bulls official  X, formerly Twitter, account corroborating the report by posting the news last night.

The Bulls bring a pair of interesting players aboard for training camp with Derrick Favors and Kahlil Whitney.

Admittedly, Favors is a shell of his former self, the dependable big man who anchored Utah’s frontcourt for nearly a decade. Despite signing a 10-day contract with the Hawks last season, he didn’t log any minutes with the team. His last stint was 39 games with the Thunder in 2021-22, where he averaged 5.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in 16.7 minutes per game. Although he won’t pile up numbers in the box score, Favors could still be very effective when utilized in the right role.

Meanwhile, the 6-foot-6 Whitney is looking to make good on his potential as a former 5-star recruit out of Chicago’s Roselle Catholic. The hometown product has yet to find his big break in the NBA, but could be a valuable asset to the Bulls’ developmental system.

Both Favors and Whitney are likely to be transferred to the G League following the conclusion of the draft, especially since Heidegger, Drell, and now Quenton Jackson have been waived to make space on the roster. Their story won’t end there if they can make a strong impression in the G League, as we’ve seen with Carlik Jones, the Bulls’ front office is more than willing to reward players for excelling in the NBA’s developmental league.

I’d keep an eye on Favors in particular, as he could be a valuable asset as injury insurance. Since the Bulls only have two true centers on the roster — Nikola Vucevic and Andre Drummond — they may have to turn to Favors for help if things take a turn for the worse later in the season.

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