Bulls Make Roster Move With Floor-Spacing Rookie Amid Injury Woes

Billy Donovan, Chicago Bulls

Getty Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls.

The Chicago Bulls are short-handed, and the caliber of who they are missing is just as important as the number of bodies sitting out on this roster.

They are without Patrick Williams, Torrey Craig, and Zach LaVine, who is out for the season. Those are their fourth, fifth, and sixth most efficient three-point shooters on the season. Add in Lonzo Ball and the Bulls are without four of their potential top shooters.

They rank 22nd in three-point attempts on the season, perhaps influencing their latest move.

“The Chicago Bulls are converting two-way F/G Onuralp Bitim to a standard multiyear NBA deal,” The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported in a post on X, formerly Twitter on February 23. “Bitim has averaged 14.2 points and 43.3 percent 3-point shooting for Bulls’ Windy City G League affiliate.”

Bitim turns 25 years old in March. He has logged two appearances for the Bulls this season. That includes their 129-112 loss to the Boston Celtics on February 22.

He has yet to sink a shot in six minutes on the court.

Still, that loss to the Celtics may very well have been the final nudge the Bulls needed to bring the former Turkish Slam Dunk Contest champion on board for the rest of the regular season. The terms of his previous two-way contract remain unknown.

Bulls Were 1 of Several Teams Interested in Adding Onuralp Bitim to Roster

“Onuralp Bitim, who went to work out for NBA teams, was very successful in Chicago Bulls and gained the attention of the club,” Turkish outlet, Basketfaul reported on June 23, per Google Translate. “Onuralp Bitim, who is hopeful for the contract, feels [a] two-way contract from Chicago…if he accepts.”

He worked out for the San Antonio Spurs – who have had arguably more success with international players than any other franchise – and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA while there were also a couple of European teams showing interest.

Bitim fits in with Bulls Vice President of Basketball Operations Arturas Karnisovas’ plans to change the team’s shot profile coming into the season.

It remains to be seen how much of an impact an international rookie can have on this team.

The loss to the Celtics might have done more than convince the Bulls to bring Bitim up. It may have also eroded what little cushion they had in the race to at least make the Play-In Tournament this season.

Bulls’ Loss to Celtics Could Prove Costly

They are now just 1.5 games ahead of the Atlanta Hawks for ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 26 and 27 games remaining, respectively, on the regular season schedule.

There are 10 slots in the Play-In Tournament field. But they will lose any chance to host a game in the postseason.

They are 4.5 games back of the Miami Heat for eighth place.

They are also a full 5.0 games back of the Orlando Magic for seventh. The Bulls are 5.5 games behind the sixth-place Indiana Pacers and a guaranteed playoff spot. This season began with Karnisovas expecting an improvement over last season. But it has taken a drastic turn as they cling to postseason hopes down the stretch.