The Chicago Bulls continue to patch holes in their roster caused by injury and COVID-19 infections with players on 10-day contracts.
Hours after inking rookie point guard Mac McClung on a 10-day contract off the Los Angeles Lakers’ G-League affiliate, the Bulls are reportedly “planning to sign” former Milwaukee Bucks forward and journeyman big man Ersan Ilyasova to a 10-day hardship contract, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.
Ilyasova hasn’t played since last season when he appeared in 17 games with the Utah Jazz. Ilyasova proved he’s still a viable three-point shooter making 44% of his attempts with Utah.
He’s 34 years old and almost certainly a short-term fix for he Bulls, but he’s likely looking to make the sort of impact that would make an impression on Chicago’s front office, or that of another NBA team.
Bulls fans should know Ilyasova well. He played 9 of his 13 seasons in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Bulls May Be Preparing to Lose More Players
The Bulls got Troy Brown Jr. back from health and safety protocols on Tuesday, but also lost guard Devon Dotson. Alex Caruso injured his foot in Monday’s win over the Houston Rockets and Derrick Jones Jr. hurt his hamstring in Sunday’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
When you combine those absences with Zach LaVine, Ayo Dosunmu, Matt Thomas and Alize Johnson all being in health and safety protocols, the Bulls are still very shorthanded–hence the hardship exception to sign Ilyasova.
Chicago’s Lonzo Ball, Alex Caruso, Tony Bradley, Alfonso McKinnie and Marko Simonovic haven’t had recent–or any bouts–with COVID, but there could be a concern about the team potentially losing more players to infection. Ball even commented on staying healthy through the team’s outbreak via NBC Sports’ Rob Schaefer.
Thankfully, no players have had serious symptoms that have resulted in hospitalization, but from a pure basketball standpoint, the team must brace itself for more impacts to the depth.
The Bulls Roster Ahead of the Toronto Raptors Game on Wednesday
As it stands, it appears the Bulls will have the following players available to play the Raptors at the United Center–if Toronto can play as they are dealing with their own outbreak.
- Lonzo Ball
- Coby White
- DeMar DeRozan
- Javonte Green
- Nikola Vucevic
- Alfonso McKinnie
- Tony Bradley
- Troy Brown Jr.
- Mac McClung
- Ersan Ilyasova
- Marko Simonovic
That roster is still compromised, but in all honesty, the Bulls are in a much better spot than many teams–including the Raptors who are being hit hard.
According to Wojnarowski, the Raptors have 7 players in health and safety protocols, but it appears they are on their way to Chicago for Wednesday’s contest.
The Raptors will be without Pascal Siakam, Fred Van Vleet, Scottie Barnes, Gary Trent Jr. Precious Achiuwa and Malachi Flynn, per Wojnarowski.
Quite honestly, if the Bulls don’t win this game–assuming it is played–going away, we’ll have seen something of a herculean effort from a number of Raptors replacement players, or Chicago will have had a bad night of epic proportions.
It’s terrible to see an NBA team decimated in this way, but the Bulls dropped two games before the postponements do to similar issues. Let’s hope all teams rebound as the league has upwards of 80 players in health and safety protocols as of Tuesday, per ESPN’s Malika Andrews.
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