Justin Lewis

Bulls Sign Henri Drell, Waive Justin Lewis

5:00pm: The moves are official, per NBA.com’s transaction log.

2:22pm: The Bulls have agreed to sign forward Henri Drell to a two-way contract, his agent Matt Bollero tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

In order to open up a two-way slot for Drell, Chicago is waiving forward Justin Lewis, according to Charania (Twitter link).

Drell, 23, is a 6’9″ Estonian wing who joined the Windy City Bulls in January 2022 and has now spent parts of three seasons with Chicago’s G League affiliate. In 11 Showcase Cup games for Windy City this fall, he has averaged 12.4 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.0 steals in 28.6 minutes per night, posting a shooting line of .433/.306/.800.

Lewis signed a two-way contract with Chicago in the summer of 2022 after going undrafted out of Marquette, but tore his ACL last August, prompting the team to waive him last fall. He rejoined the Bulls on a new two-year, two-way deal in March and made his debut for Windy City last month.

However, Lewis hasn’t been particularly effective so far this season, averaging just 5.7 PPG and 5.0 RPG on .333/.135/.500 shooting in 12 games (25.2 MPG) for Chicago’s NBAGL squad. He hasn’t played at all for the NBA team.

Once the moves are official, Drell will join Adama Sanogo and Onuralp Bitim as the Bulls’ two-way players.

Bulls Notes: White, DeRozan, LaVine, Craig, Lewis

Coby White, who is battling for the starting point guard spot, has emerged as a vocal leader for the Bulls, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. He previously deferred to more experienced players but now feels comfortable voicing his opinion.

“Being a young guy, you fall into this thing of, ‘I’m young.’ Especially on a team full of guys are older who have won, been in the playoffs a bunch of times. AC [Alex Caruso] has been a champion. You get that mindset of, ‘They have more experience than me. They know more than me. My opinion doesn’t matter,’” he said. “I didn’t know how much guys respected my opinion—and my connection with every guy on the team—until last year. I’m continuing to grow into it. And it feels natural for me at this point.”

We have more on the Bulls:

  • Jamal Collier of ESPN hears from sources that the extension talks the front office has had with DeMar DeRozan have been “preliminary.” Bulls head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas confirmed at the start of training camp that he has spoken to DeRozan’s agent Aaron Goodwin about a new deal for his client. DeRozan will be an unrestricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension.
  • In the same story, Zach LaVine says his reps aren’t behind the trade rumors that have persisted even after he signed an extension last year. “My camp isn’t putting them out,” LaVine said. “I committed to the Bulls when I signed my five-year deal. So until I’m not, I’m committed to the Bulls. I’ve always brought professionalism and consistent play, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
  • Patrick Williams started at power forward during the preseason opener, but newcomer Torrey Craig showed what he could bring to the table when he came off the bench, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic writes. He made aggressive offensive moves to the basket and also relentlessly attacked the glass at both ends. “It’s a lot of different things you can do to impact winning. I always tell people that,” Craig said. “It’s a million things you can do to impact winning, whether it’s getting deflections, offensive rebounding, blocking shots, getting steals, making threes, making the hustle plays, 50-50 plays, being a good teammate on the bench, being a (good) locker room guy. … But I think it goes unnoticed because this league is based off talent and big-number guys.” Craig left Phoenix and signed a two-year contract as a free agent in July.
  • Justin Lewis is still trying to settle in after recovering from an ACL tear suffered in August 2022, he told Ben Steele of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I still feel like I need some game reps,” Lewis said. “I feel like I’m getting better day by day. Just learning everything. Plays, defensive strategy, offensive strategy. I feel like I’ll keep progressing as the season goes. As I keep playing.” Lewis, who was undrafted in 2022 out of Marquette, signed a two-year, two-way contract in March.

Central Notes: Wiseman, Dosunmu, Lewis, Pacers

James Wiseman is thankful to be healthy and able to work on his game this offseason, Mike Curtis of the Detroit News writes.

The career of the former Warriors lottery pick has been marred by knee ailments. Wiseman is participating in the Pistons’ summer league.

“I’m just grateful to be healthy again,” he said. “Just to be out there playing and to be 100% and not worried about my knee or anything. Just out there playing and hooping and that’s what I like to do.”

Wiseman has gone through three-a-day workouts as he tries to build upon his improved play since joining the Pistons. He averaged 12.7 points and 8.1 rebounds in 25.1 minutes per games through 24 games with Detroit after being traded by Golden State.

“I’ve just been hooping,” Wiseman said. “Since I haven’t been able to play in a while, (the gym) is where I live at. I just work on all aspects of my game.”

We have more from the Central Division:

  • After waiving Marko Simonovic, the Bulls still have some work to do, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago notes. They still must resolve Ayo Dosunmu‘s status after extending him a $5.2MM qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent. The Bulls are perhaps trying to pursue a longer-term deal at a lower price, saving him as a potential sign-and-trade asset, or waiting to see if a suitor comes along with an offer sheet, Johnson writes.
  • Bulls forward Justin Lewis has been full participant in summer league camp, Johnson tweets. He’s on track to play in the Las Vegas Summer League after overcoming an ACL tear, which he suffered last August. The former Marquette star, who went undrafted last year, rehabbed the knee at Chicago’s facilities after getting waived, then re-signed with the Bulls on a two-year, two-way deal in March.
  • The Pacers made it clear they wouldn’t sign a restricted free agent to an offer sheet this offseason after giving Deandre Ayton a four-year, $133MM offer sheet a year ago, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his latest Lowe Post podcast. “Remember, they were the ‘Herb Simon doesn’t let us do offer sheets’ team,” Lowe said, referring to the Pacers’ team owner. “And he made an exception for Ayton and it got matched and it was a little bit of a mess. They sent around the league, like, ‘We’re not doing offer sheets.'”

Bulls Re-Sign Justin Lewis To Two-Way Contract

The Bulls have officially brought back undrafted rookie forward Justin Lewis on a two-way contract, the team announced today in a press release. The signing became official on Monday, per NBA.com’s transaction log.

A former Marquette standout, Lewis had a breakout sophomore season in 2021/22, averaging 16.8 PPG and 7.9 RPG in 32 games (32.2 MPG) for the Golden Eagles. Although he wasn’t selected on draft night, he quickly caught on with the Bulls on a two-way contract and played for Chicago’s Summer League team in Las Vegas in July.

However, Lewis suffered a knee injury during an August workout that was later diagnosed as an ACL issue requiring surgery. The 20-year-old stayed under contract with the Bulls until the end of the preseason, at which point he was waived to make room for new two-way signee Kostas Antetokounmpo. Reporting at the time indicated that Lewis would remain around the team while he went through his rehab process, using Chicago’s facilities.

Now, with just over a month left to go in the 2022/23 regular season, Lewis is back under contract with the Bulls. It has been less than seven months since he went under the knife following his ACL injury, so it’s unclear whether the 6’8″ forward is actually ready to suit up for Chicago or the team’s G League affiliate (the Windy City Bulls) down the stretch.

However, the fact that the Bulls brought back Lewis for the final few weeks of this season suggests that the organization remains high on him, so he could be in the team’s future plans. We don’t know yet whether his two-way deal will just be for the rest of this season or whether it will cover 2023/24 as well.

Chicago recently promoted two-way player Carlik Jones to its standard roster, so Lewis will fill the open spot previously occupied by Jones.

Bulls Cut Carlik Jones, Okaro White

The Bulls have made multiple cuts, waiving guard Carlik Jones and forward Okaro White, according to NBA.com’s transaction log. The team also officially released two-way player Justin Lewis, as was reported on Friday.

Jones had been in camp with the Bulls in recent weeks after a strong Summer League showing with the team. He appeared in three preseason games. White, meanwhile, just signed with Chicago earlier this week.

It’s possible – but not certain – that both players will end up suiting up for the Windy City Bulls, Chicago’s G League affiliate.

Lewis, meanwhile, is recovering from an ACL injury and is expected to remain around the team as he goes through his rehab process, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago reported on Friday.

The Bulls now have 15 players on standard contracts and a pair on two-way deals, so their roster is ready for the regular season, though that doesn’t mean they won’t make any last-minute moves before Monday’s deadline.

Bulls Convert Kostas Antetokounmpo To Two-Way Contract

The Bulls have signed forward Kostas Antetokounmpo to a two-way contract, the team announced today (via Twitter).

Technically, Antetokounmpo, who was in camp with the Bulls on an Exhibit 10 contract, had that deal converted into a two-way pact. Teams are allowed to turn Exhibit 10s into two-ways at any time up until October 17, assuming the player meets the two-way criteria. Antetokounmpo, the younger brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo, has just three years of NBA experience, so he fits the bill.

Although he has appeared in NBA games in three separate seasons, Antetokounmpo has never played a regular rotation role during previous stops with the Mavericks and Lakers. The 24-year-old has logged just 87 total minutes in 22 games, putting up 21 points and 23 rebounds during his limited action.

Malcolm Hill and Justin Lewis had previously held the Bulls’ two-way contract slots. The Bulls haven’t announced that they’ve waived either player, but K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago suggests that Lewis, who sustained an ACL injury this summer, will be the odd man out. Lewis will remain around the team during his recovery process, Johnson writes.

In other Bulls roster news, the club has signed former NBA forward Okaro White to a contract, per RealGM’s transaction log. White is still listed as part of the roster on the team’s official website, but will likely be waived in the next 24 hours or so and eventually join the Windy City Bulls, Chicago’s G League team.

Kostas Antetokounmpo Joins Bulls On Training Camp Deal

SEPTEMBER 26: The Bulls have officially announced their 20-man camp roster and Antetokounmpo is on it, signaling that his deal with the team is now official.

SEPTEMBER 18: The Bulls will sign Kostas Antetokounmpo to a training camp contract, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Antetokounmpo will be given a chance to compete for a two-way roster spot, sources tell Charania. Those slots are currently filled by Justin Lewis, who recently suffered a torn ACL, and Malcolm Hill.

Antetokounmpo, 24, hopes to return to the NBA after spending last season with the French team ASVEL in the EuroLeague. After being selected with the final pick in the 2018 draft, he earned two-way contracts with the Mavericks and Lakers and won a championship ring in 2020. Antetokounmpo appeared in 22 total games over three seasons, averaging 1.0 points and 1.0 rebounds in four minutes per night.

Chicago has an open spot remaining on its 20-man offseason roster, so no corresponding move will be necessary to add Antetokounmpo.

Bulls Confirm Justin Lewis Will Undergo Surgery On ACL

Bulls rookie forward Justin Lewis has injured the ACL in his right knee, the team confirmed today in a press release. According to the announcement, Lewis will undergo surgery at some point in the coming weeks and will be out indefinitely.

Lewis’ knee injury was first reported last Thursday by K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago, who said at the time that there was concern about the possibility of an ACL tear. The Bulls technically didn’t confirm in their statement that Lewis’ ACL is torn, but the fact that he’s going under the knife and being ruled out indefinitely strongly suggests that’s the diagnosis.

It’s a brutal blow for the former Marquette standout, who caught on with Chicago on a two-way contract this summer after going undrafted. Lewis had a breakout sophomore season in 2021/22, averaging 16.8 PPG and 7.9 RPG in 32 games (32.2 MPG) for the Golden Eagles. He played for the Bulls’ Summer League team in Las Vegas last month before injuring his knee last week.

While the Bulls didn’t announce a specific timeline for Lewis’ return to the court, ACL tears typically sideline NBA players for a full year. If Lewis does indeed have a torn ACL, it’s unlikely we’ll see him in action until the 2023/24 season.

It’s unclear whether the Bulls will keep Lewis under contract all season or whether they’ll waive him and use that two-way slot on another player, given that he’s only on a one-year deal. If he’s released, the 20-year-old would likely be given the opportunity to remain around the team and use the Bulls’ facilities during his rehab process.

Bulls Rookie Justin Lewis Injures Knee

Rookie Bulls two-way player Justin Lewis injured his knee during a workout, writes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. The exact extent of the damage is not yet known, but sources inform Johnson that the team is worried the 6’7″ forward out of Marquette may have torn his ACL.

Johnson notes that Chicago staffers had been optimistic about Lewis’ ability to help the Bulls as a rookie, despite not having a spot on the team’s standard 15-man roster. The athletic forward boasts the physical tools to be a solid defender at the NBA level, and had also developed into a volume long-range shooter during his second college season, converting 34.9% of his 5.2 triples a night.

Lewis averaged 16.8 PPG on 44% shooting, 7.9 RPG and 1.7 APG while being named to the 2021/22 All-Big East First Team during his final season with Marquette. Lewis posted more modest numbers while playing for the Bulls’ Summer League team in Las Vegas this year, averaging 7.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 0.8 BPG across 22.5 MPG.

Though the 20-year-old had been projected to have his name called on draft night in 2022, he instead went undrafted, then quickly agreed to terms with the Bulls on a two-way contract. The team still has one open two-way roster slot available.

Bulls Notes: LaVine, Ball, Dragic, Lewis

Bulls swingman Zach LaVine didn’t meet with any other teams during free agency, Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports Chicago writes. The parties swiftly agreed to a five-year max deal with a player option in the final season.

“I went into the offseason with an open mind. I laid out my goals, just like I always have,” LaVine said. “And once I was able to meet with (GM) Marc (Eversley) and AK (Artūras Karnišovas) and they came to me with everything that I wanted, there was no other reason for me to go outside and look at any other teams. I think that would have been disrespectful on my end because they gave me everything that I asked for.”

We have more on the Bulls:

  • Lonzo Ball is showing signs of progress after missing the second half of the season with a torn meniscus and bone bruise in his left knee, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago relays. Coach Billy Donovan provided the update during an ESPN2 broadcast. “Every day he seems to be improving. I think that the progress he has made has been steady. He keeps showing that progress. And that’s really what we all hope to continue to see,” Donovan said. “We’re obviously all hopeful that it will happen faster. But he is making progress.”
  • In the same interview, Donovan praised the signing of free agent guard Goran Dragic, who provides insurance in case Ball’s knee issues persist. “He has been in the league for a long time. He’s really, really smart. Gives you a level of experience back there,” Donovan said. “And he’s been in a lot of big games and has been around the league for a long time. You have great respect for how hard he competes and plays.”
  • Justin Lewis, who was signed to a two-way contract, admitted that going undrafted was an unpleasant surprise, according to Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. The former Marquette forward was an All-Big East First Team selection. “Sad. Upset. Frustrated. But I mean, I’ve got this opportunity now,” he said. “And the guys that got drafted got the same opportunity. So I feel like we’re back at ground zero and I’m ready to work and build up.”