Prized free agent spurns Bulls for second time in two years

Orlando Magic v Detroit Pistons
Orlando Magic v Detroit Pistons / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

Down several key contributors and holding an open roster spot, the post trade deadline buyout market seems like the perfect time for the Chicago Bulls to pick up some additional help for a playoff push. Several solid role players are now available to sign after being bought out by their previous teams, but the Bulls will have to act fast if they wish to land a real difference-maker.

With Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball sidelined for the remainder of the season, it might seem like Chicago could use some backcourt depth. Coby White, Alex Caruso, and Ayo Dosunmu have been phenomenal in their absence, however, so the Bulls may look to pick up a veteran forward instead.

Other teams seemed to have the same idea, as Marcus Morris and Thaddeus Young were quickly scooped up by contending rosters in Minnesota and Phoenix. This left Danillo Gallinari as the best remaining option among free agent forwards.

The Bulls had previously attempted to sign Gallinari with their Mid-Level Exception in 2022, but the veteran opted to join the Boston Celtics instead. The Bulls dodged a bullet in the end, as Gallinari ended up tearing his ACL before the season even began.

Although Gallinari has managed to bounce back this season, it seems history is destined to repeat itself, as he is finalizing a deal to join the Milwaukee Bucks instead. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that the Bulls, Clippers, and Cavaliers each registered interest in signing Gallinari, but will come up empty-handed here instead.

The Bulls must look elsewhere for help on the buyout market after missing out on Danilo Gallinari yet again.

Gallinari is averaging 7.3 points and 2.8 rebounds while shooting 35.5% from beyond the arc this season, respectable numbers for a 35-year-old role player just one year removed from a devastating injury. Had he signed with the Bulls, Gallinari would have immediately received a sizeable role as a key reserve behind DeMar DeRozan and Torrey Craig.

Instead, he joins a Bucks team struggling to keep their heads above water. Milwaukee has only managed to win 3 of 10 games since hiring Doc Rivers to be their new head coach. As a result, they're now only two games above 5th place and are in danger of losing home court advantage in the playoffs.

Is Gallinari the player who can fix all their problems? I reckon that's too tall of an order for the Italian veteran. I can't fault for him for chasing a championship ring at this point in his career, but I can't help but think he may have been better off signing with Chicago in hopes of extending his career on his own merits. In the likely event Milwaukee falls short this postseason, it may leave Gallo with limited options in the summer.

Speaking of limited options, now that Danilo is off the board, Chicago's selection of free agents is now looking extremely thin on the wing. Keep an eye on budget options such as Lamar Stevens or Furkan Korkmaz as potential candidates for the Bulls to pursue, but I wouldn't expect anything too radical from here on out.

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