Raptors: New signings show Bulls are building with ex-Toronto players

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 12: Matt Thomas #21 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 12: Matt Thomas #21 of the Toronto Raptors. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

If the Toronto Raptors have decided that you don’t fit into their future plans, you might be able to find some work with the Chicago Bulls, as Arturas Karnisovas has added players like DeMar DeRozan, Matt Thomas, and Stanley Johnson in the course of just a few weeks this offseason.

While acquiring DeRozan in a sign-and-trade with San Antonio and signing him to a three-year, $85 million contract was the highlight of the offseason, Karnisovas had filled out the rest of his depth chart with former Toronto players. Yesterday, he added former first-round pick and versatile forward Stanley Johnson to the mix.

Thomas is the latest player to agree to a contract, as the former Raptor sharpshooter, who was traded to Utah in exchange for the pick that became David Johnson, signed a deal with Chicago with the intent of cracking the roster as an end-of-the-bench gunner.

The Bulls weren’t done there. Alize Johnson, who impressed with the Nets after dominating with Raptors 905 in the G League, signed a two-year, $3.6 million deal with Chicago after the addition of LaMarcus Aldridge squeezed Johnson out in Brooklyn.

The Bulls clearly value how Masai Ujiri selects players, develops talent, and builds a roster, as they now have four former Ujiri Raptors on the roster. Will it translate into wins?

The Bulls are building off of the backs of former Toronto Raptors.

Stanley Johnson will once again look to show enough offensive improvement to warrant more playing time, as he shot just 38% with the Raptors. Thomas, who made 47% of his 3-point attempts with Toronto, will try his hardest to make the team after the Jazz ditched him.

Alize Johnson will try to provide the rebounding, rim-running, and finishing that the Bulls need behind Patrick Williams at power forward. With a 20-20 game already under his belt in Brooklyn, he has proved that he is capable of amassing some impressive totals at the NBA level.

While DeRozan might not be putting up the gaudy scoring numbers that he had during his prime with Toronto, he can still score 20 points with his eyes closed, and he should fit in nicely alongside Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic in what should be one of the best “big threes” in the East.

While the Lakers and Clippers have made a habit of poaching former Raptors, especially players from the 2019 title team, the Bulls have now joined them in the pursuit, hoping that these castoffs can give their bench the stability it needs.

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