The Chicago Bulls signed point guard Patrick Beverley after he agreed to a contract buyout with the Orlando Magic. The Bulls need a veteran floor general because Lonzo Ball will miss the entire season while he recovers from a left knee injury.
The Los Angeles Lakers traded Beverley to the Magic shortly before the trade deadline two weeks ago. The Magic sent center Mo Bamba to the Lakers in exchange for Beverley and a second-round draft pick.
The Magic waived Beverley after they came to terms on a buyout. After Beverley cleared waivers, the Bulls were able to sign him for the remainder of the regular season.
Beverley is an 11-year veteran known for his defensive prowess and ability to get under the skin of opposing players. He spent the first five seasons of his career with the Houston Rockets before he joined the Los Angeles Clippers for four seasons.
Beverley started for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season but was traded twice in the off-season. The Timberwolves traded Beverley to the Utah Jazz in the blockbuster deal involving center Rudy Gobert. The Jazz quickly traded Beverley to the Lakers in a deal for swingman Talen Horton-Tucker and forward Stanley Johnson.
Beverley Helps Bulls for Playoff Push
Beverley started 45 games for the Lakers this season. He averaged 6.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. He’s a career 37.6% 3-point shooter, but shot only 34.8% this season.
The Lakers are on the playoff bubble in the Western Conference, but traded Beverley to the Magic in an effort to bolster their frontline with the addition of Bamba.
The Bulls are on the playoff bubble in the Eastern Conference. With a 26-33 record, the Bulls are in 11th place, and could miss the Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament. They’re only two games behind the 10th-place Toronto Raptors (28-31).
The Bulls have been after me the last couple years,” Beverley told ESPN. “I figured I can make a playoff push with the Bulls right now and kind of pump them up a little bit. The East kind of weak, you feel me? Not to disrespect anybody from the East, but a lot of people went to the West. So, I’m excited.”
FiveThirtyEight projects the Bulls will finish the regular season with a 37-45 record. They have an 8% chance to qualify for the playoffs. The Bulls have a regular season win totals prop bet, which DraftKings set at 36.5 over/under wins.
DraftKings posted a “make the playoffs” prop bet, and the numbers aren’t favorable for the Bulls. The Bulls are -700 odds to miss the playoffs, and +450 odds to make the postseason.
The Bulls are a long shot to win the 2022-23 NBA championship at +50000 odds, according to DraftKings. In Eastern Conference futures, the Bulls are +25000 odds to win the conference and secure a trip to the 2023 NBA Finals.
Lonzo Ball: Focused on Next Season
Ball last played a game for the Chicago Bulls in January 2022. At the time, he sustained a left knee injury and underwent arthroscopic surgery. The Bulls hoped Ball could return in a couple of months and get ready in time to help them in the 2022 NBA playoffs. However, Ball didn’t recover from surgery in time, and he missed the rest of the regular season and the postseason.
Ball’s rehab suffered a setback last summer, so he opted for a second surgery in September. The team anticipated Ball could rejoin the Bulls by the end of 2022. But the second surgery was unsuccessful.
Ball struggled to run and jump without pain or swelling in his knee. He would shut down his rehab for a couple of weeks and rest, but he continued to experience pain. The Bulls made a tough decision to shut Ball down for the rest of this season and focus on next season.
Despite making significant increases in strength and function over the past several months, Ball continues to experience performance limiting discomfort during participation in high level basketball-related activities,” said Bulls vice president Arturas Karnisovas in an official statement. “Considering the required time period to achieve the necessary level of fitness to return to play and the current stage of the NBA season, Ball will not return this season.”
Ball signed a four-year contract with the Bulls worth $80 million in the summer of 2021. He appeared in only 35 games in the first year of his new contract before injuring his left knee.
Ball averaged 13.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.1 assists per game as the starting point guard for the Bulls prior to his injury. He also shot 42% from 3-point range.
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