Former Bulls Duo Primed to Help LeBron James, Lakers in Playoff Push

Chicago Bulls

Getty LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers.

It appears that the Chicago Bulls may have done the Los Angeles Lakers a favor.

“The Los Angeles Lakers are working out free agent centers Tristan Thompson and Tony Bradley this week,” tweeted Shams Charania of The Athletic on March 19. “Thompson, an 11-year NBA veteran, was a key member of the 2016 championship Cavaliers team alongside LeBron James.”

L.A. is in a similar position to the Bulls. They are chasing a playoff spot while hanging precariously around being on the outside of the Play-In Tournament looking in with both sitting 10th in their respective conferences ahead of play on March 20.

Charania says the Lakers are looking for a potential replacement for Mo Bamba.

Thompson, 31, has not played in a game this season, last suiting up for the Bulls in 23 games and even drawing three starts last season joining the team after the All-Star break.

Averaging 6.0 points and 5.4 rebounds while playing for three teams last season – the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings were the others – he was also a part of the team as they suffered a gentleman’s sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs. Thompson averaged less than 1.0 points with 1.6 boards as he was largely kept off the floor.

But, as Charania noted, he has a prominent history with James.

Tristan Thomson Recruiting for LeBron James, Lakers

Thompson – who works for ESPN as an analyst – also tried to recruit Dallas Mavericks star Kyrie Irving amid the latter’s trade demands earlier this season.

“He put a heart emoji, so I know he read it,” said Tristan Thompson during an appearance on SportsCenter on February 3 of a text he sent to his former teammate. “And, like I said to Ky, and we all said it before, whatever happened in Cleveland happened. But, like I said, the band broke up a couple years too early. Let’s get it back together. This is what we need.”

Irving wound up in Dallas ahead of the trade deadline but there have been murmurs that he could find his way to Los Angeles and James after this season.

Still, Thompson’s use of the word “we” might not have been a slip of the tongue after all.

Tony Bradley Still Has Supporters

The most enduring visual of Bradley’s Bulls tenure will forever be his getting carried off the floor by Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams following a confrontation with Ja Morant.

But the 25-year-old pivot still has his supporters including among the L.A. media scene.

“I thought Tony Bradley’s rim protection before the All-Star break last season was legitimately awesome,” tweeted Law Murray of The Athletic who saw plenty of Bradley – a former first-round pick of the Lakers in 2017 – in the Western Conference when the big man was with the Utah Jazz over the first three seasons of his career. “Of course, Bulls decided to add Tristan Thompson anyway to take all of Bradley’s minutes.”

To Murray’s point, Thompson and Bradley ranked first and second in net efficiency differential, respectively, per Cleaning The Glass.

Bradley was waived during the All-Star break to make room for point guard Patrick Beverley who has helped guide the Bulls to a 7-4 record since his arrival. The 6-foot-10 Bradley averaged 2.7 points and 2.4 rebounds in one-plus seasons in Chicago.