Bulls will sign backup center Tony Bradley as Summer League nears
Last season, the Bulls had a firsthand look at Bradley, who played one of his better games against them when he was with the 76ers. But the search for frontcourt depth continues next week in the Summer League as all eyes turn to Marko Simonovic.
The Bulls only had a brush with Tony Bradley last season, but he obviously made a lasting impression.
A 6-10 big man, Bradley strolled into the United Center on March 11 and walked out with a victory after scoring 14 points, grabbing five rebounds and blocking three shots for the 76ers.
After beating the Bulls, he’ll be joining them.
Bradley and the Bulls reached an agreement on a one-year minimum deal with a player option for a second season.
Drafted 28th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, Bradley spent his first three seasons with the Jazz, then played for the Pistons, 76ers and Thunder last season.
The Bulls are hoping that they landed Bradley at the right time. He’s coming off his best season despite the frequent changes of address. In 42 games last season, he averaged 7.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 0.7 blocks and shot 66.5% from the field.
The Bulls were deficient in the rim-protection department, and that was before Daniel Theis and Thad Young were traded in the last week. The hope is Bradley can be a rotation player who shores up that area.
Even with the addition of Bradley, though, the Bulls still have work to do in the frontcourt. As of Wednesday, the roster was at nine, not including second-round pick Ayo Dosunmu and 2020 second-rounder Marko Simonovic.
Bradley and Simonovic are penciled in as the primary frontcourt reserves, but there’s some mystery concerning how effective they can be, especially Simonovic, who was a draft-and-stash player last season.
The good news for the Bulls is they will at least get some clarity with the 6-11 Simonovic in the Summer League.
Simonovic, 21, will make his Bulls debut Monday in Las Vegas against the Pelicans.
Joining Simonovic on the Summer League roster are Dosunmu and 2020 first-round pick Patrick Williams. It will be interesting to see how much Williams plays, however, because he went straight from a long rookie campaign to offseason workouts, then joined the USA Select team to help prepare Team USA for the Olympics.
The early reports on Williams’ offseason were very good, and teammate Zach LaVine only fed into that hype when he gushed about Williams after practices with the Olympic team.
“Pat’s incredible, man,’’ LaVine said. “Extremely, extremely happy and joyful and just wants to learn and get better. He gets on the court, and he just displays so many different things he can do. He can defend; he can shoot; he can pass; he has all the intangibles. Just seeing him build, even over this summer, I’ve seen him get into the gym and work out.
“He’s had some really good games out here against the Olympic squad. Just talking to him, [you get a sense of] how serious he is about developing and getting better. So that’s all you can ask for with a guy of his age and his potential.’’
That potential will be counted on to blossom quickly with the Bulls in full win-now mode after adding Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso to the backcourt, then giving Williams a new partner in the frontcourt in DeMar DeRozan.