The Chicago Bulls‘ COVID-19 situation just went from bad to worse. DeMar DeRozan, Coby White, Javonte Green and Matt Thomas had already entered health and safety protocols in recent days. As a result, the team was granted a hardship exception that it promptly used to sign former lottery pick Stanley Johnson to a 10-day contract.
Now, the Bulls’ outbreak has claimed a fifth player, with forward Derrick Jones Jr. having entered protocols on Thursday.
As a result, the team will enter its December 11 road bout with the Miami Heat sans all of the aforementioned players, in addition to Patrick Williams (left wrist surgery) and perhaps Alex Caruso, who has missed Chicago’s last two games with a hamstring injury.
On the bright side, additional help could be on the way, should the Bulls choose to accept it. As noted by ESPN’s NBA front-office guru, Bobby Marks, Jones’ entry into protocols could net the team another hardship exception. And there’s at least one player out there with Bulls ties and familiarity with Billy Donovan’s system that could come in as a stopgap.
Ryan Arcidiacono Is a 10-Day Option
Point guard Ryan Arcidiacono spent four years with the Bulls from 2017 to 2021. For the most part, he made the best of the opportunities he received, too. During the 2018-19 campaign, he started 32 games for the club, averaging 6.7 points per contest and hitting 37.3% of his triples.
And while he was still considered a candidate to return after the Bulls declined his $3 million team option in August, the former Villanova standout ultimately went to Beantown in an effort to capture a roster spot with the Celtics.
In the end, he came up short, however. So, he currently finds himself in the role of an affiliate player for the G League’s Maine Celtics. He’s played exceedingly well in Portland, though, putting up 12.7 points, 8.2 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game with shooting splits of 49-44-73 and a net rating of 13.9.
As an affiliate player, Maine owns his G League rights, but he’s a free agent where the NBA is concerned. He may not have had a spot left in Chicago as a long-term piece, but his familiarity with the Bulls may make him ideal in a temporary spot.
The Johnson Signing
Although Johnson was playing with the G League’s South Bay Lakers when he was signed, he had been with the Bulls during training camp. Some considered him a lock to make the team, too, given his status as both a former No. 8 overall pick and an impact-maker defensively.
In the end, the Bulls opted for more shooting in Thomas. However, Johnson still holds intrigue due to his strength, size/length — he checks in at 6-foot-7 with a seven-foot wingspan — and athleticism. He’s still just 25, too, and played well in small doses for the Raptors last season.
The big issue with Johnson has always been the very limited nature of his offensive skill set. His career conversion rate of 58.7% within three feet of the hoop is pretty meager for a player of his profile, and he gets worse the farther out you go. For his career, Johnson is just a 37.5% shooter and a 29.8% three-point shooter.
As a stopgap, though, he’s somebody that can come in and guard for 10 days or so.