Bulls’ Offseason Addition Could Make ‘Legitimate Impact’ Next Season

Goran Dragic, Chicago Bulls

Getty Goran Dragic #9 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles

First, new Chicago Bulls backup big man Andre Drummond got called a potential “outright steal” by Forbes’ Bryan Toporek. Now, another summer addition has made a list of “underrated” signings of this class.

Drummond was also called “burnt toast” by Blog-A-Bull. But Bulls guard Alex Caruso had plenty to say to the contrary in defense of his new teammate.

Goran Dragic has already seen news of his signing be met with mixed reactions.

He signed a one-year, $2.9 million deal, per Spotrac, spurning more money elsewhere for a bigger role with the Bulls. That might seem counterintuitive given that guard depth is the team’s strength.

Enter the Dragon

The Bulls have a very crowded backcourt, writes CBS Sports’ Michael Kaskey-Blomain. It includes Caruso as well as youngsters Ayo Dosunmu and Coby White behind starters Lonzo Ball and Zach LaVine who re-signed on a max contract this offseason.

Ball has dealt with a bone bruise related to a meniscus tear since January.

He had surgery to address the tear but was never able to return, cutting his season short after 35 games and making Dragic an insurance policy going forward.

Kaskey-Blomain says it “never hurts” to have someone with Dragic’s experience.

“Dragic, 36, is clearly in the twilight of his career, but he still has a little bit left in the tank, as he showed with the Nets last season. In 16 regular-season games with Brooklyn at the end of the season, Dragic averaged 7.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.2 rebounds per game — solid production for a backup.”

The Bulls could need Dragic’s steadying presence, as Kaskey-Blomain points out, with Ball’s status for training camp still up in the air.

“Dragic is a relatively cheap investment with no long-term commitment, which could prove to be very valuable. It’s a low-risk, relatively high-reward move for the Bulls, and those often prove prudent. It wouldn’t be shocking to see Dragic have a legitimate impact at some point for Chicago.“

Caruso said that he reached out to Dragic after the 14-year veteran signed adding that he is excited to learn from him.

Even if Ball is healthy early in the season, the Bulls could look to take it easy with his minutes. The dropoff in the offense’s performance did not immediately fall off of a cliff – the Bulls held first place in the Eastern Conference after the All-Star break.

But the loss of one of the best role players in the league changed how they played on both ends of the floor.

Dragic’s Busy Summer

Dragic has had a lot to say about his previous stops in the NBA including his time with the Brooklyn Nets where he said it was about the individual. He also said Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver told him he was glad he didn’t have to pay him a $1 million bonus after Dragic failed to earn an All-Star nod on the July 19 episode of the “Dvokorak” podcast.

The well-traveled veteran got some kind words from Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal. O’Neal detailed the red carpet the Bulls point guard and his countryman, Luka Doncic, rolled out for him while he visited Croatia via BasketNews.

If his outspokenness and active summer – which included Doncic leading MVP chants for him – are any indication, Dragic certainly has plenty left in the tank.

He said as much while explaining why he chose Chicago over his friend, Doncic, and the Mavs.

Dragic’s ability to help the Bulls on the floor has yet to be determined. And that is all that will ultimately matter when all is said and done. For the sake of the Bulls’ long-term outlook, that just needs to come in a moderate bench role as expected.

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