What is $500 between NBA teammates, really? The average NBA salary is worth millions of dollars, after all.
Craig reached out to one of his newest teammates, big man Andre Drummond, to inquire about acquiring Drummond’s uniform number, No. 3, for next season. What ensued was a friendly back-and-forth that should bode well for the Bulls.
The Bulls big man, of course, wears No. 3, the same jersey number Craig wore with the Suns, though both have worn multiple numbers in their careers. Craig has worn No. 12, including in his previous stint with Phoenix in 2020-21 and No. 13 with the Indiana Pacers during the 2021-22 season.
Chicago restricted free agent Ayo Dosunmu wears No. 12 while No. 13 is open but has a storied history belonging to both Tony Bradley and Joakim Noah who reside on the opposite ends of the spectrum in Bulls lore.
“Lmaoo. No Chance,” Drummond said. “Unless you can get Coby [White] to give me zero.”
“You’re sick,” Craig replied before suggesting Drummond wears No. 00 next season which the big man compared to telling his new teammate to don the No. 33. While Drummond’s point was that it simply wasn’t the same, Craig could only point out that the number – worn during the dynasty years by Scottie Pippen – is retired.
Craig called Drummond a “great guy” to which Drummond replied in kind to a player he could pair with often on the second unit.
“Love is love bro,” said Drummond. “See you in Chiraq.”
Torrey Craig Replaces Derrick Jones Jr.
While Craig’s arrival could be an insurance policy in case Patrick Williams remains timid offensively, it is almost certainly in direct response to the defection of Derrick Jones Jr. who, unlike Drummond, decided against picking up the second year of his two-year, $6.6 million deal.
“It played a bit of a factor, no doubt,” Eversley said via the team on June 22. “DJ, for everything he brought to the floor – the athleticism, the length, his ability to get out and defend multiple positions. Julian fits a lot of those same attributes…they’re both very similar in terms of the way they play and style of play, and we’re excited about bringing him into the fold.”
But counting on a second-round rookie is risky business, Ayo Dosunmu notwithstanding.
Enter Craig, 32, who made a career-high 79 appearances and 60 starts while shooting 39.5% from beyond the arc for the fourth-seeded Suns last season. He should give them better shooting and on-ball defense than Jones but without his ability to place center.
Ayo Dosunmu is Bulls’ Last Piece of Unresolved Business
With Craig’s addition, the Bulls are at 12 guaranteed contracts and sit more than $8 million below the luxury tax threshold, per Spotrac, including Dosunmu’s qualifying offer.
Dosunmu’s lingering situation, however, has led to speculation.
“The longer Dosunmu’s situation plays out, the more speculation there is that the Bulls are either trying to perhaps sign him to a multiyear deal at a lower annual salary or even work out a sign-and-trade to balance out a guard-heavy roster,” wrote NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson on July 2.”
“Karnisovas has publicly said the team wants to re-sign Dosunmu, although that came before the addition of [Jevon] Carter.”