DEERFIELD, ILL. — The Bulls released their official training-camp roster Friday morning, announcing the signing of six free agents to give them a total of 18 players as they begin preparing for exhibition play.
Guards Patrick Christopher, Mike James, Dahntay Jones and Kalin Lucas, forward D.J. White and center Dexter Pittman will vie to make the squad’s regular-season roster. The Bulls currently have 12 players signed to guaranteed contracts, so at least one of the free agents is likely to make the team to give them a league-mandated minimum of 13 players under contract before the Oct. 29 season opener in Miami against the two-time defending-champion Heat.
James, a journeyman point guard who played for the Bulls during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, and Pittman have been working out at the Berto Center leading up to training camp. White, a power forward who played for the Boston Celtics for part of last season, and Jones, a veteran swingman, also have NBA experience. Lucas, a point guard out of Michigan State, and Christopher, a shooting guard who played at California, previously played overseas.
The Bulls’ most pressing need is additional depth at center, giving Pittman, who began his NBA career with the rival Heat, a solid chance of making the team, as well as White. However, James, who ended last season as the Dallas Mavericks’ is a favorite of Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau going back to when they crossed paths with the Houston Rockets under former NBA head coach and current broadcaster Jeff Van Gundy, while Jones, who played for the Atlanta Hawks last season, is a tough, defensive-minded player who fits the team’s mold.
Although the Bulls could keep as many as three of the free agents to give them a maximum of 15 players under contract, that’s an unlikely scenario. It wouldn't be surprising to see the organization sign a player to a partially-guaranteed contract — similar to Nate Robinson last season — to give them flexibility to sign other players as the season progresses.