By Mike Elworth: Owner and Publisher/Hoopstuff…
Those of you who are 25-35 may remember an incredible movie (more like a mediocre B movie) with Antonio Banderas chilling with Vikings and although he was an Egyptian poet he was named the 13th warrior, which is the title of the movie. What does this have to do with this article? Little, as this is about Chicago finding the 14th Bull, but I like that movie and if you are of the appropriate age you should watch it (it’s rated R).
NBA teams have to have at least 13 players signed and can have as many as 15, but most teams like to have at least one roster spot open for a signing or trade mid-season, so 13 or 14 is usual. The Bulls currently have 13 players signed to guaranteed contracts, but two players with non guaranteed contracts; second year big man Cameron Bairstow and Cristiano Felicio, a rookie Brazilian big man. I assumed that Bairstow who has played with the Bulls and played well with the Bulls in Summer League would get the spot, but them signing Felicio knowing that they wouldn’t have 15 guaranteed contracts makes him intriguing; they wouldn’t have signed him they weren’t very interested in having him with the team. It must be stated that Hoiberg wasn’t there when Bairstow was a rookie so he has no coach’s advantage there. I have looked at Felicio’s international numbers and let’s just say I am not impressed. He’s also 23, so it isn’t like he is some big teenager with a lot of potential. In the Summer League Bairstow was also the much better player, so if they are going with one of these two for the 14th spot, it should be Cameron Bairstow.
Although Bairstow would be the sixth big man, in Vegas he showed the potential to be an excellent NBA role player as he averaged about 12 points, 10 rebounds, 2 steals and 3.5 blocks per 36 minutes. This means that he can become an excellent NBA defender and rebounder and would give them a young big man (24) with the potential to become a hustle/defender off the bench. The Bulls should guarantee Cameron Bairstow’s 845k contract for next season and have Cristiano Felicio in the D-League. This is best for the franchise.