New Bulls Guard Reveals Why He Rejected Teaming Up with Luka Doncic & the Mavs

Chicago Bulls

Getty Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks looks on

The Chicago Bulls are going to get a lot of usage out of free-agent acquisition Goran Dragic this coming season. At least, that is what the 14-year veteran point guard is expecting as he discussed his decision.

Chicago has a gluttony of guards. None of them are close to the playmaker that the still-recovering Lonzo Ball is.

That goes for Dragic too. But he can at least come close enough to allow the Bulls to operate more like the team we saw to begin the season rather than the one that ended it. The latter closely resembled the 2021 squad in how rudderless it was without Ball.

Dragic will get a chance to ease that burden for the Bulls.


Plenty in the Tank

Dragic’s arrival has led to speculation regarding Ball’s health and Coby White’s future. The one-time All-Star and All-NBA selection told Spela Lenart of Siol.net that he anticipates a sizeable role next season.

He also told Zoran Mijatovic of Vecer that he still has plenty left in the tank, for those who are concerned while giving his personal timeline for his career.

“[Dallas] imagined that I would play one game and rest five games. I know that I can easily play 20 minutes per game. I’m not ready to retire just to sit on the bench and encourage my teammates.”

Dragic also revealed that he “talked to” the Bulls last season after being waived by the San Antonio Spurs who acquired him in a trade for Thaddeus Young. He signed with the Brooklyn Nets and averaged 7.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.2 rebounds in 16 appearances with six starts.

The interview uncovered several things about the decision to play for the Bulls. Dragic had also been linked to the Dallas Mavericks and his fellow countryman, Luka Doncic.

But Dragic says that he has ties with Bulls figures as well.

Many factors played a role, two of which are certainly the excellent coach Billy Donovan and the club’s vice president Arturas Karnisovas. I’ve worked with him in the past with the Houston Rockets…There is, of course, Nikola Vucevic.”

Vucevic is said to have played a big role in recruiting Dragic while Karnisovas was an international scout in Houston during Dragic’s brief year-plus tenure.

“Now I think it’s time to give Chicago a chance. We know the Chicago Bulls have a rich history, so it’s going to be an honor to wear the jersey and, hopefully, we will have a good season. Last year, I was positively surprised by their performances for most of the season, especially in the regular season, but then they had some injury problems.”


Chicago Over Dallas

The news of Dragic’s signing sent social media into a bit of a stir. Most of their attention turned to Doncic and the Mavs. Dragic acknowledges that the Mavericks were indeed one of the teams he communicated with in free agency.

But he adds that Chicago was offering him something that Dallas simply was not.

“I was in contact with quite a few clubs, Dallas was one of them. But in the end, they couldn’t guarantee that I would play. They told me that I would be spending more time on the bench. I’m not interested in that, so such transfer was out of the question.”

The Bulls needed a backup playmaker regardless of any other factors. Karnisovas’ recent update on Ball’s health only adds to the significance of what Dragic told Lenart.

He did specify that he is coming to Chicago to be the “second playmaker”.

Perhaps that is an indication that, in his discussions with the Bulls, they expressed an expectation that Ball would be ready to go when the season rolls around.

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