NEW YORK Reports indicate veteran free-agent center Joel Przybilla will likely sign with the Bulls or the Heat in the near future. The seven-footer is an experienced shot-blocking presence capable of fitting into the Bulls defensive-oriented style, as well as providing insurance behind the teams big-man quartet of starters Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, and backups Taj Gibson and Omer Asik.
Chicagos entire corps of post players have been banged up to different degrees this season sans Boozer, who struggled with injuries last seasonso adding more sizable depth since Kurt Thomas wasnt re-signed has been in the making since the beginning of the season. But dont expect Przybilla to duplicate what Thomas brought to the table.
While both are solid defenders, Thomas acumen and positioning were his best attributes, while Przybilla relies more on his length and size. Also, Thomas was able to consistently knock down mid-range jumpers, something Przybilla hasnt showcased much over the course of his career.
As far as where Przybilla ends up, one advantage the Bulls have is that he could opt to stay close to his Midwest roots. However, Miami offers the ability to give him more immediate playing time, as the Heat are a lot thinner in the middle.
Regardless of where he ends up, expect the team that signs Przybilla to receive a basket protector on the defensive end, who is at least serviceable on offense. Ironically, hell probably end up having to face the suitor he turns down in the postseason.
Kendall Gill can add another bullet point to his resume.
NBC Sports Chicago's Bulls analyst was announced as a member of the University of Illinois' Athletics Hall of Fame for the Class of 2018. Gill enters in the same class as his coach at Illinois, Lou Henson, and former Bulls broadcaster Johnny "Red" Kerr.
Gill was a part of Illinois' 1989 Final Four team and earned consensus Second-Team All-America honors the following year as a senior when he led the Big Ten in scoring (20 points per game). He is third in program history in steals with 218.
He went on to have a 15-year NBA career, which included a stint with the Bulls.
Last year was the inaugural class for Illinois' hall of fame.
The Bulls square off against the Sixers tonight on NBC Sports Chicago, with coverage beginning at 6:30 with Bulls Pregame Live. Here are three things to watch as the Bulls begin the stretch run of their regular season.
1. The new rotation: Most of the Bulls’ rotation looks the same, but the addition of David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne will have a different feel. The Bulls clearly want to get a look at these guys before the end of the regular season, meaning they’re not just going to get sporadic minutes. They’ll have to play through their mistakes, play out-matched at times and be put in uncomfortable situations. But the Bulls need to see what they have, especially in Payne, who has missed the entire season to this point with a broken foot.
2. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons: They’re quite the 1-2 punch and have the Sixers looking at their first playoff appearance since Derrick Rose hadn’t yet torn an ACL. Yeah, that’s a long time. Embiid just finished his first All-Star appearance (starting in his second year) and Simmons is the front runner for Rookie of the Year. The Bulls will have their hands full with these two. Luckily…
3. Kris Dunn is back: The Bulls wanted to get Dunn some run before heading to All-Star Weekend to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, and he looked healthy in that thumping against the Raptors last week. The good news is John Paxson says Dunn won’t be on a minutes limit, which means he’s healthy. That, of course, is more important than how he’s playing. It’ll be fun to see him, LaVine and Markkanen play together down the stretch. Their numbers together aren’t great, but the Bulls are 2-2 with all three in the lineup, and tanking or not…it’s more fun to watch when those three are rolling.