Bulls Notes: Drummond, Caruso, Free Agency, Dosunmu

Andre Drummond returned to the Bulls on Friday night after spending a few days away for mental health reasons, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The veteran center made an immediate impact, grabbing 11 rebounds in 14 minutes in a win over Charlotte. After the game, he expressed thanks to his teammates for understanding his situation.

“Felt good to be back on the floor again,” Drummond said. “My guys rallied behind me, just gave me a lot of support when I came back in here. It definitely boosted my energy. I still have a lot to deal with, a lot to tackle in my own personal life. But it’s good to be back on the floor again.”

Drummond missed just one game during his absence, sitting out Wednesday’s contest against the Lakers for personal reasons. He’s averaging 6.7 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per night this season, and his board work will be needed for Chicago to advance past the play-in tournament.

There’s more on the Bulls:

  • Alex Caruso was able to play his second straight game Friday, but his sprained left foot remains a concern, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. The team is keeping Caruso away from contact during practices, and coach Billy Donovan pulled him from Wednesday’s game at halftime because the foot appeared to be bothering him. “Alex doesn’t complain,” Donovan said. “He doesn’t say anything. I can just tell, the way he’s moving. Alex will give everything he’s got. But he’s going to have to deal with this. It’s going to be an ongoing challenge for him the rest of the year. He tries to fight through it the best that he can.”
  • Luxury tax considerations will weigh heavily on the Bulls’ free agency decisions, Johnson states in a mailbag column. The tax line for next season is projected at $162MM, and the team already has about $111.5MM committed to six players. Drummond and Derrick Jones Jr. could raise that total to $118MM if they both pick up their player options. That leaves a limited amount to offer Nikola Vucevic and Coby White unless the front office can unload some other salaries.
  • Ayo Dosunmu has put up similar numbers to last season when he was considered a draft steal, but his impact hasn’t felt the same, Johnson adds. Dosunmu, White and Patrick Beverley will all be free agents this summer, and Johnson doesn’t expect all three to return.
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