No team has been more active this offseason than the Chicago Bulls, who continue to reshape next season’s roster with just weeks to go until training camp.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that they’re bringing in newly waived forward Alize Johnson on a two-year deal:
The 25-year old spent last season with the Brooklyn Nets, and averaged 5.2 points and five rebounds over 18 appearances.
After playing a minimal role last year on a contender, Chicago is going to task Johnson with shouldering more responsibility on both ends of the floor.
The latest Bulls news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Bulls newsletter here!
What Is Johnson’s Place in the Rotation?
Despite the efforts of Arturas Karnisovas and company, the Chicago Bulls roster was still left with holes in the aftermath of their offseason spending.
The biggest of those, lied in the frontcourt, with no player slated to serve as Patrick Williams’ backup at the power forward spot next to Tony Bradley.
Now, look for Alize Johnson to back up Chicago’s second-year forward, even if only as an experiment to start the 2021-2022 season.
At 6-7 and with a 6-8 wingspan, the 25-year old provides the team with a solid rebounding presence to play next to the aforementioned Bradley, and hopefully, some constant rim protection from the power forward slot, too.
Johnson had a 20-point, 21-rebound performance in a win last season over his first team, the Indiana Pacers:
That kind of potential is likely why the Bulls moved quickly on offering the forward a contract, just half an hour after he cleared waivers on Monday.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks is reporting that both years of Johnson’s contract are non-guaranteed. So overall, another smart move by Karnisovas and company.
But it’s possible that his eligibility for minutes at the power forward spot could become dependent upon a lineup experiment that’s yet to have been discussed.
Will DeMar DeRozan See Minutes at PF?
The sign-and-trade acquisition of four-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan was met with mixed reactions from fans and personnel around the league.
His value on a contending team has come into question in recent years, despite his putting together two career seasons with the San Antonio Spurs.
One reason he was able to do so, is how he was deployed by future Hall of Fame coach Gregg Popovich, who took an unconventional path with DeRozan.
And for the first time in his 12-year NBA career, the 32-year old played more minutes at the power forward slot than any other position.
The results were largely neutral, as the Spurs did end up falling short of the play-in tournament, and subsequently, the 2021 postseason.
But it’s clear Chicago sees value in DeRozan, who averaged 21.6 points, (a career-high) 6.9 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game last year.
Will head coach Billy Donovan take a page out of Popovich’s book, and play him in the frontcourt next to Nikola Vucevic or Tony Bradley at some point?
That much hasn’t yet been discussed, but with training camp only three weeks away, look for some semblance of what next season’s starting lineup will look like to begin leaking out of the Windy City.
You can trust Alize Johnson will be keeping a close eye on the situation as well.