The bulls boost the depth of their backcourt with a new addition for veterans. Chicago signs former All-NBA point guard Goran Dragic to a one-year contract, per Jordan Schultz of the Pull Up Podcast (Twitter link†
Dragic, most recently with the Nets, will earn $2.9 million next season, the veteran minimum, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Dragic, who has an All-Star season and an All-NBA season on his resume, played a pivotal role during the Heat’s NBA Finals run at the Orlando ‘bubble’ campus in 2020. The Slovenian’s production garde fell the following season amid injury problems, and he was eventually treated to the Raptors in the sign-and-trade deal that landed Kyle Lowry with the Heat in the 2021 off-season.
Last year, Dragic played in just five games with Toronto before reaching an agreement to leave the club as it sought a suitable trade. The 36-year-old was shipped to the Spurs and negotiated a buyout with San Antonio before joining the Nets as a free agent.
In 16 games with Brooklyn, including six starts, Dragic averaged 7.3 PPG, 4.8 APG and 3.2 RPG, while making .376/.245/.739 shots. While his assist and rebound numbers were in line with his career averages of 4.8 APG and 3.1 RPG, his scoring efficiency over 25.5 MPG for Brooklyn was a long way from his 14-year career average of 13.7 PPG at 0.460/0.362/. 767 shooting.
The addition of Dragic marks Chicago’s fourth free agent deal this offseason. The team agreed to re-sign All-Star shooting guard Zach LaVine to maximum deal, brings up deep-bench reserve Derrick Jones Jr.and will add the companion reserve center Andre Drummond to boost his recovery.
As Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype points out (via Twitter), thanks to Dragic’s minimum wage deal, the Bulls are now about $1.7 million under the luxury tax this season, with 15 players expected to have guaranteed contracts. Gozlan adds that Chicago has about $7 million left to use from its non-taxpayer middle exception.
Further changes to the Bulls roster appear to come through trade rather than free agency. Now if you open a roster place to add another free agent, you must trade or forgo a current Bull with a guaranteed salary. The team also has a $5MM trading exception that will expire after July 7.
If the Bulls strike a deal, it may have to do with the depth of their backcourt. The team is added to a group of guards that already consists of Lonzo ball† Alex Caruso† Ayo Dosunmuand Coby Whitethough Ball’s health heading into next season remains a question mark.
NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson reports that the team expects this current roster to be intact for training camp in the fall, although he acknowledges that the team appears to have a surplus of guards.