Among all of the Chicago Bulls’ trade deadline acquisitions, and there were plenty, it’s possible that Daniel Theis was the most surprising arrival.
That’s no dig towards two-time All-Star Nikola Vucevic, but all factors considered, the fourth-year veteran was pried from the Boston Celtics for next to nothing.
Chicago sent out Chandler Hutchison, Daniel Gafford, and Luke Kornet in a three-team deal that also included the Washington Wizards and brought back Troy Brown Jr. and Theis.
He’s averaging 9.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in 11 games with Chicago.
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Theis Was Surprised By Trade
Ahead of the Chicago Bulls’ matchup with the Boston Celtics, Daniel Theis spoke with reporters (via NBC Sports) about the events leading up to his landing in the Windy City.
He sounded optimistic about his return to TD Garden, and getting to play his old team:
Definitely a weird feeling, being the guest team here coming to the (TD) Garden, but definitely a special day too. I’ve played many games here, spent almost four years here, so I’m just going to enjoy it tonight.
Theis told reporters that the trade to Chicago caught him by surprise, but he’s holding no ill-will towards the Celtics players or the front office. He still talks to Semi Ojeleye nearly every day:
It’s going to be special to see all those guys.
The Bulls are just Theis’s second NBA home, so it’s likely taken a bigger effect on the big man as he’s been moved for the first time in his career. And it caught the entire NBA, not just him, by surprise.
Theis had been a significant contributor in Boston’s playoff runs in 2019 and 2020.
He averaged 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks as a starter in their 17-game postseason stretch that saw them eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Now, he’s hoping to help a young Chicago Bulls team accomplish their goals.
This year, and potentially the next.
The Bulls Want to Keep Theis in Chicago
Prior to the Chicago Bulls’ win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night, head coach Billy Donovan spoke with reporters (via NBC Sports) about Daniel Theis, and his upcoming free agency.
And he offered up that the team was hopeful of their chances at resigning him this offseason:
We didn’t get into maybe that depth of conversation (before trading for him), but I would say in our conversations, there’s no question that myself and Artūras and (general manager) Marc (Eversley) really like him (Theis) as a player. So I would think that our hope would be a long-term possibility.
When Theis was relayed the comments made by his head coach on Monday, he didn’t address his upcoming free agency.
Instead, he offered up his opinion on his fit with this Bulls team:
Obviously it’s nice to hear that Coach (Donovan) is talking well about me. Like I said, I’m just trying to be a veteran guy on this team, help the young guys. And listen, I’ve been around basketball for a long, long time, and I think I bring a physicality to the team, especially on the defensive end, and I want to bring it every night.
It’s what Chicago brought him in for, that physicality on defense.
And that’s exactly why they’d like to keep him in a Bulls uniform far past the remaining 16 games of this season.
Now, if they could just grab a few wins along the way.