It's all but official: Jimmer Fredette cleared waivers this afternoon and is reportedly signing with the Bulls. It's even possible he'll be suited up and ready for the game against the Knicks Sunday morning.
We've been hashing this out the past few days, and it's hard to think of any downside with this signing. I suppose with the Bulls tax situation there's an opportunity cost in not signing someone else instead, but of the available free agents Jimmer is at least one of the more interesting options. The Bulls currently aren't a logical destination for ring-chasing veterans looking for a final run. And thus while Fredette may not be the most ready-to-play guy available, at 25 he's still someone who can develop his place in the NBA.
And knowing that he is at a crossroads of his career and not at the end of it, Chicago was a logical place for Fredette to choose, too. John Paxson remarked on his team's success with fringe players over the summer, saying that 'signing here builds value'. Now, we can jump to joking over how players then leave to actually get that value (the contract is for the rest of the season only, there are no option years), but for now the key is that this is a situation that could benefit both Fredette and the Bulls.
As Kelly Dwyer remarked, Jimmer was in a no-win, lame-duck situation in Sacramento when his option for next season was declined. Because when he played, he was actually kind of good, notably a 49% mark from three this season. He's technically improved every year he's been in the league. His buyout from the Kings was a function of them cutting bait and giving time to (even) younger players more than his play this season. It's been in limited and sporadic minutes, as his whole career has been, but that performance is at least something. The issue with Fredette is that shooting is pretty much the only thing he can do, but as NBA things go, shooting is the most important.
Thibs the guard-whisperer has done more with less. At least more with equal. And I agree with this post from CrabDribbles: the Bulls are a pretty ideal fit. They need shooting, and really have no prototypical shooting guards, outside of perhaps Tony Snell. Jimmer's famously-derided defense will be something that will need to be managed, but not totally avoided: the Thibs defensive system is something that can mask a DJ Augustin or Carlos Boozer or the plethora of role players who've been thought to be porous on D before playing here.
Due to that defense, it's likely the Bulls play Fredette more alongside Hinrich than with Augustin, but that's still a few minutes that can be had on this team. This recent run by this team has been amazing, but it's also been with around 7 players every night, with Jimmy Butler's SG minutes especially high. They've been pretty lucky dodging significant injury since the Deng trade as well, but it's still something that should be guarded against.
Granted, Snell could already be picking up some of that slack and we won't know if Thibs will trust Fredette any more than him (and Snell hasn't exactly earned a bigger role), but it's worth finding out. It's typical for buyout season to produce way more hype than help, but this team's roster is so thin, and shooting so needed, that this one could really work out.