Former Bulls Duo Joining LeBron James to Bolster Lakers’ Title Hopes

Chicago Bulls

Getty LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Nikola Vucevic of the Chicago Bulls.

Two former Chicago Bulls are joining the Los Angeles Lakers in hopes of winning a ring.

“L.A. will sign guard Shaq Harrison, a defensive-minded point guard, and Tristan Thompson, a veteran center with playoff experience on LeBron James’ teams in Cleveland,” tweeted ESPN NBA reporter Dave McMenamin on April 9. “Both players provide insurance at their positions for the roster, with L.A. having players out with injuries late in the season.”

Harrison, 29, spent two seasons in Chicago as a reserve in 2019 and 2020, appearing in 116 games and drawing 21 starts. He averaged 5.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.1 steals but was mostly known for his aforementioned defense.

His biggest claim to fame might be mistakenly being listed at 6-foot-7 during the offseason between his two years in Chicago which would have meant he grew three inches at 25 years old.


Harrison split the 2021 season between the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets before spending one year each with the Brooklyn Nets and Portland Trail Blazers after breaking into the league with the Phoenix Suns as an undrafted free agent in 2018.

He averaged 12 points, 6.7 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.7 steals over his final three appearances for Portland this season.

Tristan Thompson’s Lip Service Pays Off

Thompson, 32, was previously linked to the Lakers along with another former Bulls big man, Tony Bradley, as the Lakers were seeking to continue their late-season surge all the way to the NBA Finals. He helped James bring the first title in franchise history in 2016, overcoming a 3-1 deficit to the Golden State Warriors.

He spent the final 23 games of the 2022 regular season with the Bulls after the All-Star break but saw his role greatly reduced during their five-game foray into the playoffs.

The 6-foot-9 big man averaged 5.7 points and 4.7 boards for the Bulls.

Most recently, he has worked as an analyst for ESPN where he spoke on trying to recruit mercurial star Kyrie Irving to the Los Angeles Lakers for a 2016 reunion when the latter requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets who ultimately sent him to the Dallas Mavericks. Still, his familiarity with James appears to have paid off.

Los Angeles entered the final day of the regular season clinging to their spot as the seven-seed in the West with a chance to move up to sixth or fall to eighth.

Patrick Beverley’s Playoff Streak at Risk

For their part, the Bulls have a tall task ahead of them in the Play-In Tournament with a road trip to face the Toronto Raptors against whom they went 1-2 this season.

Toronto presents a difficult matchup for the Bulls with their length and athleticism.

Aside from the stated goal of executive vice president of basketball operations Arutras Karnisovas to make it beyond the first round of the playoffs, Bulls guard Patrick Beverley also has his personal streak of playoff appearances on the line.

The Bulls have gone 12-9 with Beverley so the signing can only be viewed as a success, especially since they went into the All-Star break on a five-game losing streak. But they are 0-1 against Toronto with him and might need the veteran to return next season with Lonzo Ball’s murky future and missing the playoffs might be the one thing that could spoil that.

Beverley has made the playoffs in each of the last four seasons and eight of his previous 10 years in the NBA.