If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. Chicago’s faithful are headed for the same head-scratching circus they were in store for a year ago when the Bulls were similarly silent at the trade deadline despite a losing record and no real support for change headed into the season’s home stretch. At that time, they came away with Patrick Beverley and impressively finished the 2022-23 campaign with a 14-9 record, still falling short of a postseason berth. This time around, they’ve already honed in on their guy and will likely fight to sign him soon. Who has Arturas Karnisovas and company circled on their big board, and how much can he help this roster compete?
Former Three-Point Contest Champion
Joe Harris was released yesterday by the Detroit Pistons after failing to find a trade partner for the former sharpshooter. The 31-year-old did not contribute much there, only appearing in 16 games this season and averaging ten minutes per contest. In five of his previous six seasons in Brooklyn, however, he played in 69 or more games and is a career 43.6% three-point shooter. That percentage would place him in the top 15 in the league this season, and he’d lead the Bulls in that category.
Oddly enough, had Zach LaVine’s injury not resulted in season-ending surgery earlier last week, Harris could have joined Chicago via a trade involving LaVine. Several insiders reported that a trade surrounding Bojan Bogdanovic and Harris for LaVine was heating up until the news broke regarding the procedure that would keep him out the remainder of the 2023-24 campaign.
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Bulls Might Have Upper Hand To Sign Him
A player who’s shot over 46.5% from deep on three separate occasions throughout his career would be a luxury for a Bulls team that struggles from three-point land. He’d immediately be the best shooter on the roster. With the recent injury update regarding LaVine, Chicago has been running a lot of pick-and-roll sets involving White and DeRozan, who are constantly looking to drive and dish to catch-and-shoot threats. While many may think there will be plenty of suitors for Harris, his contract before being bought out will prevent several teams from having the option of signing him. Luckily for the Bulls, nearly all those teams require a player with that skill set. Harris’s contract before the buyout was over $19 million, pinning him in the ineligible category to join these rosters.
While the improvement and contributions of Ayo Dosunmu, Torrey Craig, and Jevon Carter have been noticeable in spurts, the best deep threat of the trio shoots 37% from beyond the arc, and the lowest is only making three-point field goals at a 33.7% rate. Harris’s danger from deep range would immediately space the floor for White and DeRozan’s playmaking and driving abilities, and defenders would need to remain loyal on a three-point menace of his caliber.
Even though the trade deadline silence was disappointing and embarrassing, could Chicago have their hands on a diamond in the rough here? Can Joe Harris help save Karnisovas’s future with the Bulls and salvage an otherwise lost season?