Bulls Set to Sign Key Free Agent on Buyout Market: Report

Getty Billy Donovan

The Chicago Bulls have finally made their move. The long-awaited addition to the frontcourt is coming.

Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Bulls are going to sign Tristan Thompson off the buyout market after he clears waivers. Thompson was traded to the Indiana Pacers at the deadline, but a buyout has been reportedly arranged and he will sign with the Bulls. 

What Tristan Thompson Can Bring to the Bulls

If Thompson does sign with the Bulls as Charania reports, he would bring size, experience, rebounding and interior defense. All four qualities will be much-needed additions to a Bulls team that heads into the All-Star break on a five-game win streak and with a record of 39-21.

Thompson is listed at 6’9″ 254 pounds which gives him plenty of size to guard both power forwards and centers in the post. This is something the Bulls have been lacking with their small-ball lineups. Thompson has the frame to play alongside Nikola Vucevic in the frontcourt against teams with two traditional big men or he could slide in as the backup center.

Thompson turns 31 in March and he’s already won an NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2015-16 season. He has played 11 seasons in the NBA and 83 postseason games in his career. No other player on the Bulls roster has as much postseason experience.

Thompson has never been a big-time scorer. His career scoring average is 9.1 points and between the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers this season, he is scoring just 4 points per game. However, rebounding–specifically on the offensive end–has been his forte.

Thompson is averaging 5.2 rebounds per game in just 15.2 minutes of action per contest this season, and 2.4 of those boards are offensive. For his career, Thompson averages 8.5 rebounds per game with 3.3 offensive boards.

Last but not least, Thompson’s wide frame makes him a solid interior defender. He doesn’t block a lot of shots, but he has generally given good effort contesting at the rim and he also has proven to be serviceable with perimeter defense as well.

Overall, this would be a sensible acquisition for the Bulls.

Are the Bulls Done Adding Through the Buyout Market?

The big question here is whether Chicago is done adding players to the roster. They will likely need to release someone if they are adding Thompson. A player like Tyler Cook seems like the likely odd man out in this scenario. They are essentially asked to play the same role only Thompson is expected to be more effective.

If the Bulls are adding another player, it seems like it would be a guard. The San Antonio Spurs and Goran Dragic have reportedly agreed to a buyout and he has been connected to the Bulls in rumors recently.

If Chicago can convince Dragic to sign, that might mean the end of the line for Matt Thomas. The veteran has struggled with consistency on his three-point shot and he is a massive liability on defense. He has made just 6 of his last 22 three-point attempts. Chicago might want to add s player who has a little more consistency and playmaking ability.

Dragic would likely fit the bill.

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