Bulls training camp begins on Tuesday (official individual workouts, then group stuff in a few days), and the roster doesn’t look much different after an offseason with very little activity. The Bulls are bringing 13 out of 15 players from the main roster last season to camp, with Kris Dunn and Shaquille Harrison the only departures. Plus, Adam Mokoka is back on another two-way contract.
The five newcomers include:
- No. 4 pick Patrick Williams
- Undrafted free agent Devon Dotson on a two-way deal
- Garrett Temple on a one-year, $4,767,000 deal using part of the mid-level exception
- Noah Vonleh on a non-guaranteed deal
- Zach Norvell Jr. on a non-guaranteed deal
This certainly isn’t all that inspiring after a 22-43 2019-20 season, but the Bulls are clearly treating 2020-21 as an evaluation campaign with the hope that Billy Donovan’s coaching staff can coax plenty of internal development out of the roster.
The delay in Temple signing his contract had me speculating that the Bulls were looking to make other moves that would have resulted in more of a roster shakeup (perhaps a Young trade or even more). The fact that Temple’s deal is worth the room exception makes me even more curious, but perhaps it truly was all just wishful thinking. The veteran ultimately signed his deal a week after agreeing to it, with no other notable moves taking place.
Williams is obviously the most intriguing of the new arrivals, and how Donovan uses the 19-year-old rookie to start is something to monitor. With this condensed offseason featuring no Summer League, Williams isn’t getting the normal offseason prep for a rookie.
Williams figures to slot in as a backup 3/4 behind Otto Porter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen, but just where in the pecking order he’ll be remains to be seen. Temple, Chandler Hutchison and Thaddeus Young are all in place as reserve forwards, with Temple also looking at possible minutes at backup 2 along with Denzel Valentine. Coby White and Tomas Satoransky are in line to be the primary point guards after the Bulls didn’t bring in a veteran at the position (I’m assuming White starts), but they could also get minutes at the 2.
I’m also interested in seeing what type of shot Dotson gets. As a two-way player this season, he’s eligible to be active for up to 50 games this season, which is a big change from the previous 45-day rule. Ryan Arcidiacono is in place as the third point guard and is perfectly adequate in that role, but we know what he is. If Dotson impresses, perhaps he can steal some spot minutes. This unique season in the midst of a pandemic could also result in Dotson getting thrust into more minutes than expected.
Vonleh (former Bull!) and Norvell (Simeon guy!) will most likely be cut, but perhaps one or both do enough in camp to earn a roster spot. The tail end of the Bulls’ roster is ripe for change given Cristiano Felicio and Luke Kornet hold spots back there. However, the Bulls may want to keep Felicio’s $8 million expiring deal around as a possible trade chip down the road, and Kornet might be a better fit with Donovan than he was with Boylen.
As the Bulls open camp, they’ll have about a week and a half before game action. They have two preseason games against the Rockets (Dec. 11 and 13) and two against the Thunder (Dec. 16 and 18) before the regular season starts the following week.