Monday, January 24, 2022

Bulls Sign Two Players On Hardship Exemption


The Chicago Bulls are dipping their hands into the free-agent pool as a part of the NBA’s hardship exemption. The team will sign guard Mac McClung and forward Ersan Ilyasova to a 10-day hardship exemption. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Bulls were already missing several players due to the leagues’ Covid-19 protocol. Some of the names include Zach Lavine, Devon Dotson, Derrick Jones Jr., and more.

Chicago has a game Wednesday night against the Toronto Raptors. No word has been given on whether the game will be postponed. The Raptors currently have seven players in Covid protocol.


The Signings

McClung, 22, started his career with the Los Angeles Lakers and played collegiately at Texas Tech under coach Chris Beard. The point guard went undrafted in 2021. He is also cousins with hip-hop artist Riff Raff.

Dubbed by a few on the Lakers team as the possible replacement for Alex Caruso, McClung plays hard and with a lot of explosiveness. He is a young and explosive guard that can give a team tough minutes.

With Caruso being day-today on the injury report, it will be imperative for McClung to contribute even a fraction of Caruso’s play. Hustle plays and steals will be the biggest plays needed.

Ilyasova can provide veteran experience and will space the floor well for the Bulls. He is a career. He’s made stops in Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Orlando, and Oklahoma City.

More importantly, he already has a relationship with coach Billy Donovan from their time together in Oklahoma City. Ilyasova contributed in Donovan’s first year with the Thunder. That year the team went to the Eastern Conference Finals and lost to Golden State in seven games.

He has career averages of 10.1 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game while shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 36.7 percent from 3. His ability as a shooter will create plenty of space for the likes of Lonzo Ball, Zach Lavine, and Demar DeRozan.

Players Coming Back

The timetable for players such as Zach Lavine and others to return is unclear. Tony Bradley will however be returning from Covid protocol.

Covid is spreading like wildfire around the league and the league hasn’t remotely hinted at a shutdown. There are talks of possibly postponing the Christmas Day games however the league is playing the situation by ear.

Carlos Peterson
Chicago native with experience covering the greater Chicagoland area sports scene.

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