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Bulls release Alfonzo McKinnie, sign veteran center Tristan Thompson

Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - FEBRUARY 11: Tristan Thompson #11 of the Indiana Pacers warms up before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 11, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

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The Chicago Bulls, tied for first in the East at the All-Star break, decided to add some championship experience to the roster.

The Bulls have signed veteran big man Tristan Thompson for the rest of the year, the team announced. To create the roster spot to make that possible, Chicago waived forward Alfonzo McKinnie.

Thompson brings championship experience to the table, something the surprising Bulls are light on in the locker room. Thompson earned a ring with the 2016 Cavaliers and has played in four Finals. He will back up Nikola Vucevic at center, along with Tony Bradley.

Thompson was traded from the Kings to the Pacers as part of the Tyrese Haliburton/Domantas Sabonis deal, then the Kings’waived him making him a free agent. Thompson has averaged 6.3 points and 5.3 rebounds a game this season between his two teams, and overall is in his 11th NBA season.

Thompson can be the calming, steady voice the Bulls need in the locker room during the ups and downs of a playoff run.

McKinnie was first signed as a COVID-replacement player but was given a contract for the rest of the season around Christmas. However, he had fallen out of Billy Donovan’s rotation and averaged 3.5 points and 1.9 rebounds in 17 games for the Bulls.