The front office has taken this route in recent years — the Bulls added players such as Tristan Thompson and Patrick Beverley to fill needs for a final playoff push. And this year the Bulls have an extra roster spot after receiving an injury exception for Lonzo Ball, who hasn’t played basketball since January 2022 and won’t return this season after undergoing a third surgery on his left knee.
The buyout market is always a limited mechanism for acquiring top-level talent. While several players are available for the Bulls to add, most have experienced down seasons or struggled to fit in with their previous coaches or teammates.
The Bulls have been hit or miss with the acquisitions in the past — Thompson was relatively ineffective as a backup center after they added him in February 2022, while Beverley’s short-lived tenure last season gave the team a boost before falling short in the play-in tournament.
Filling in holes left by injuries will be the main priority for the Bulls — and the most glaring deficit lies behind the 3-point line. With Zach LaVine out for the season and Patrick Williams sidelined indefinitely, the Bulls have lost a lot of their 3-point shooting volume.
Those two players average 3.8 makes on 10.2 attempts, which accounts for 32.5% of the team’s shooting from behind the arc. The Bulls have vastly improved their 3-point numbers this season but risk reverting to old habits with those two sidelined.
The Bulls lost to the Orlando Magic 114-108 in overtime Saturday. They still hold the No. 9 seed in the East.
Here are three players to consider on the buyout market.
Waived by the Detroit Pistons
Harris appears to be one of the Bulls’ main targets. According to an NBC Sports Chicago report, the front office already has expressed interest in the veteran on the buyout market.
Harris, 32, only played in 16 games for the Pistons this season, averaging 2.4 points and 0.6 assists while shooting 33.3% from 3-point range. But the Bulls likely are interested in his priors — the 10-year veteran is a career 43.6% 3-point shooter and shot 42.6% in 72 games for the Brooklyn Nets last season.
Waived by the Pistons after a trade from the New York Knicks
Another player with high potential who hasn’t seen much in the way of minutes, Fournier only logged 13 minutes in three games this season as a healthy scratch after falling out of favor with Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.
Bulls center Nikola Vučević provided a moment of levity when Fournier initially was traded from the Knicks, posting a gif on X of Mel Gibson’s character shouting “Freedooooooom” in “Braveheart” with the caption, “Evan Fournier right now.”
But if Fournier, 31, can establish a better relationship with a new coach, he should still have plenty to offer as a shooter. He showed out at the FIBA World Cup last summer, averaging 14 points in a strong tournament for France. And he has shot 37.8% on 3-pointers in his 12-year career.
Waived by the Pistons
Gallinari, 35, is an option who could address two issues for the Bulls: size and shooting. The 6-foot-10 power forward is a career 38.2% shooter from behind the arc and was averaging 35.5% this season for the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons.
There are reasons to be concerned about how well Gallinari would fit into the defensive schemes that have helped the Bulls stay afloat over the last two seasons, but he could be a short-term solution to other weaknesses on this roster.