The Chicago Bulls didn’t make any trades at the deadline on Thursday, but they could be very active on the buyout market. One of the names being mentioned in connection to the Bulls is Oklahoma City big man Mike Muscala.
Heavy’s Steve Bulpett gave a list of players Chicago could be after and the sharpshooting stretch big was among them.
Among the players who could help the Bulls in the buyout market, if they can work something out with their current teams (or if they get traded): Paul Millsap (most likely candidate), Kings big man Marvin Bagley, Chicago native Patrick Beverley (if he is traded), former Bulls fave Thad Young (who might be too good for a buyout), stretch 4 Mike Muscala, center Derrick Favors and point guard Goran Dragic.
Since Bulpett published his piece, the NBA trade deadline has passed and a few of these names are likely to fall off. Bagley was dealt to the Detroit Pistons in a four-team deal involving the Kings, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers.
Beverley remained with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and he was up to his old antics against the Bulls on Friday night as Chicago outshot Minny in their 134-122 win at the United Center.
Dragic was dealt to the San Antonio Spurs, but it is believed he would prefer to sign with the Dallas Mavericks if he is bought out. Muscala’s teammate Favors wasn’t dealt either, and he is a potential buyout option for teams in need of a physical veteran presence on the inside.
Young is an old Bulls favorite and he could re-sign with Chicago if the Toronto Raptors choose to buy him out. However, the Raptors are surging and may actually want to hold on to the versatile veteran. Millsap is another player whose name has been mentioned repeatedly in connection to the Bulls, but the question remains, which is a better fit?
The Case for Muscala
In 43 games off the bench for the Thunder, Muscala is shooting a career-best 42.7% from three-point range. Muscala is averaging 8 points per game, but his 3 boards per contest prove he’s not exactly a volume rebounder.
Even though he’s not the most noteworthy interior defender and rebounder, Muscala’s ability to stretch the floor with his shooting and his legitimate 7-foot height make him a potential asset for the Bulls. Depending on the matchup, he could be a better backup option behind Nikola Vucevic than Tony Bradley.
Muscala is currently out with an injured ankle and expected to return some time after the All-Star Break.
The Other Buyout the Bulls Should Be Watching
The Brooklyn Nets waived DeAndre Bembry to make room for Ben Simmons on the roster. Bembry is an excellent two-way player. He played in 48 games, starting 20 of them.
Bembry shot just under 42% from three, averaged a steal per game and 3.2 rebounds. At 6’5″ 210 pounds, he’d give the Bulls another dependable three-and-D style player who can play at least 2 positions.
I’d expect the Los Angeles Lakers to be very interested in Bembry, but it will be interesting to wait to see what team he’ll choose. Bembry should have his pick as most NBA teams can use a player with his skill set.
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