Bulls Sign Alfonzo McKinnie to Another 10-Day Deal - Might He Stay Longer?

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Bulls Sign Alfonzo McKinnie to Another 10-Day Deal – Might He Stay Longer?

Chicago Bulls

When the Chicago Bulls reached five players in the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, the front office gave veteran forward and Chicago native Alfonzo McKinnie a call. Thanks to the NBA’s hardship exception, they were able to sign him to a 10-day contract for emergency assistance.

Originally signed on December 10th, McKinnie’s deal expired earlier today, but the Bulls quickly announced a second deal to keep McKinnie in Chicago a little bit longer.

McKinnie has appeared in both games the Bulls have played since joining the roster. In his first battle with the Miami Heat, McKinnie played 29 minutes and added 6 points with 1 block. Then, even with the return of several players from the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols this week, he clocked 17 minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night, scoring 2 points with 2 rebounds.

McKinnie didn’t really stand out in either showing, but that might actually be a good thing. The 29-year-old has played for five different NBA teams over his five seasons in the league. Most notably, he appeared in 22 playoff games for the Golden State Warriors on their trip to the NBA Finals in 2018-19. He also added some playoff experience to his belt last season when playing with the Lakers. So while finding a home has been tough for the 6’8″ forward, McKinnie has shown he can aid winning teams multiple times in the past, which might be exactly why the Bulls feel comfortable keeping him aboard.

In fact, one has to wonder whether or not McKinnie has a legitimate shot at earning a full-time roster spot. Again, his play hasn’t been spectacular, but he’s also only been in town for a little under two weeks. A lengthy forward with a serviceable 3-point shot and legitimate postseason experience makes sense on paper for this Bulls team. Given some more time to adjust to Donovan’s style of play and his teammates, and it’s not hard to picture him filling a role as a wing defender and power forward on this roster.

McKinnie’s G-League stats certainly suggest he’s worthy of a promotion. This season with the Mexico City Capitanes, McKinnie has averaged 24.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Even better, he is shooting a career-high 43.3 percent from downtown on a career-high 6.7 attempts per game. I know, the G-League is the G-League, but McKinnie has made the impression he needs to make. And for a playoff team with a lack of frontcourt bodies, the Bulls could likely do worse than McKinnie as an addition to their midseason depth.

Of course, a McKinnie signing would have to come with the dismissal of a current roster member, which makes this all the more difficult to envision. Matt Thomas feels like the only possible candidate to get the boot right now, as he’s solely a 3-point specialist on a team that already averages the 5th-most efficient stroke from downtown this season. Otherwise, the Bulls likely aren’t going to waive a younger asset like Alize Johnson or Marko Simonovic to make some extra room (both of who are on multi-year deals).

If McKinnie can continue to show he can stay on the court and use his size to make some players, I do think it wouldn’t hurt for Arturas Karnisovas to consider swapping him for Thomas. Yet, at the same time, we also can’t rule out the Bulls addressing this need for more sizable talent as the deadline nears. After all, the rumors have already started to swirl about how AKME might approach the next few months.

For more on that …



Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.