Bulls Waive 2 Players Ahead of Regular-Season Opener

Getty Simi Shittu

The Chicago Bulls are trimming their roster down to size ahead of the beginning of the regular season. The slice began on Saturday with the release of Simi Shittu and Zach Norvell.

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Shittu Shined in His Brief Opportunities

Despite the disappointment that comes along with being released, Shittu can feel good about his performance during his brief run with the Bulls. On Friday night, he helped lead an improbable comeback against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Shittu had 13 points, 6 rebounds, an assist, and a steal in just 12 minutes. His production was instrumental in the Bulls’ come-from-behind 105-103 victory over the Thunder. That stint was his most prolonged during the preseason, and it may have served as a solid audition for other teams–maybe even the Thunder.

Shittu reminds me of a bigger and less-refined version of former Bull and current Houston Rockets guard/forward David Nwaba. We’ll have to see if another team likes the former Vanderbilt standout enough to sign him to their NBA or G-League roster.

Norvell Struggled From Deep

Making the team was perhaps a bigger longshot for Norvell than Shittu.

While Norvell possesses the ability to make shots from deep, but he converted only 2 of his 14 three-point attempts in the preseason, and the Bulls’ roster is already stacked with guards. He would have needed to play lights out to supplant a veteran. You could make the argument he could be at least as effective as Ryan Arcidiacono–who appears to have regressed–but Norvell doesn’t have the experience or tenure with the organization.

Moves Were Inevitable With the Returns of Veterans

Veterans like Denzel Valentine, Garrett Temple, and Thaddeus Young are expected back for the start of the regular season, or shortly thereafter. Young missed the preseason with a lower leg infection, but I’d expect him to provide veteran leadership and minutes off the Bulls’ bench this season.

Valentine dealt with a lingering hamstring issue throughout the preseason which kept him off the court during all four exhibition games.

However, the Bulls chose to maintain Valentine’s services this offseason while allowing other restricted free agents Kris Dunn and Shaquille Harrison to walk. The move to keep Valentine made it clear he would be a part of what the team decided to do this season under new head coach Billy Donovan.

Temple, whom the team signed as a free agent last month, tested positive for COVID-19. He hasn’t been with the team all preseason and most of the abbreviated training camp while he navigates the COVID-19 protocols.

The Bulls also have Adam Mokoka, Tomas Satoransky, and undrafted rookie point guard Devon Dotson. With such a crowded and talented backcourt, there is no wonder Norvell didn’t stick.

There is a chance Shittu and Norvell could land on the Bulls’ G-League affiliate, but that remains to be seen. The regular season begins for the Bulls on December 23 when they host the Atlanta Hawks.

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