Although the NBA off-season has hit a lull, it hasn’t stopped the Chicago Bulls from making moves in the free agency market. Late Wednesday they signed big man Diamond Stone to a partially guaranteed deal. Chris Reichert, who is the founder of the NBA G-League site 2ways10days.com, reported the signing on Twitter.
Reichert also reported the guaranteed money was around 50k, which allows Stone to be a part of the Windy City Bulls if he gets cut from the main roster. The Bulls roster currently stands at 15 (plus 2 two-way deals) after the Stone signing, it can be up to 20 in the offseason but has a maximum of 15 when the regular season begins.
This move is very likely a training camp signing as the Bulls bigs rotation is already crowded. With the Bulls already having Robin Lopez, Bobby Portis, Lauri Markkanen, and Cristiano Felicio, with Nikola Mirotic still unsigned but possible to return, there is a good chance Stone goes down to the G-League.
Despite being only 20 years old, Stone has had a very rough start to his career. He was picked in the second round (40th overall) by the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2016 draft and was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers on draft night. Stone didn’t make an impact in his rookie year for the Clippers, playing in just 7 games and averaging just 1.4 points and 0.9 rebounds. It was clear Stone was struggling to adjust to the NBA game and as a big man, he wasn’t going to get a ton of minutes for the Clippers unless he contributed right off the bat. His offseason has been sort of hectic, as he was moved to the Atlanta Hawks in a three-team deal which sent Paul Millsap to Denver and Danilo Gallinari to LA. A rebuilding situation in Atlanta looked like a good situation for Stone, but that tenure was also short lived as the Hawks waived him shortly after.
Stone did have a good Summer League for the Hawks however, averaging 10.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game out there in Vegas.
There is still a lot of mystery when it comes to Stone, given he’s only played 24 minutes in the NBA. Luckily for us, our own Ricky O’Donnell has watched Stone while he was in college and was able to provide a quick scouting report on the big man.
He was a 5-star recruit as a high school player, rated No. 6 in his class by ESPN. Went to Maryland with first round buzz, but they had a disappointing season and he was exposed as a slow, low post scorer during the exact time that type of player was being fazed out of the league. He can definitely score with his back to the basket, but he doesn't really seem athletic enough to be a rim protector at this level.
With that in mind, it looks it’s all but certain Stone is just a camp body and a G-League stint will likely be in his near future. Hopefully he can develop some more skills while in the G-League and learn how to be more versatile offensively.