While there are rumors out there involving veterans Kirk Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy, the reality is that the Chicago Bulls will have to be blown away by an offer to pull the trigger on a deal before Thursday’s trade deadline. They did make a move of sorts Tuesday, signing forward Jarvis Varnado to a 10-day contract.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the only way the Bulls will make a deal is if they are offered a young player who could step into the rotation or a first-round draft pick, a scenario that is not incredibly likely to unfold.
Instead, the reshaping of the Bulls won’t happen until the summer, when it was always expected to occur.
That allowed the Bulls to get below the luxury tax line, where Chicago would have paid the stiffer repeater penalty.
Chicago has had just 12 players on the roster for several weeks, adding depth through the judicious use of 10-day contracts—guard Mike James is on his second—but got to 13 on Tuesday when they signed Varnado to a 10-day contract (h/t ESPNChicago.com)
Varnado had been playing at the Bulls’ NBA Development League affiliate, the Iowa Energy, this season, averaging 14.1 points and 11 rebounds per game in 22 games.
Varnado was a second-round pick of the Heat in 2010 out of Mississippi State, but played in Italy that season before splitting time between Israel, Italy and the D-League in 2011-12.
He signed with the Heat in 2012, but was waived in training camp, signing with the Celtics in December before he was let go prior to the deadline for contracts to become guaranteed for the season. The Heat brought him back on a pair of 10-day contracts before signing him for the rest of the season last January, but he again was waived during training camp.
In 13 games with the Celtics and Heat last season, Varnado scored eight points and had nine rebounds while averaging 4.5 minutes a game.
Varnado is the all-time NCAA Division I leader in blocked shots with 570, surpassing the mark set by Louisiana-Monroe’s Wojciech Mydra from 1998-2002.
James is likely to be retained for the rest of the season once his current 10-day deal expires.
Chicago returns from the All-Star break Wednesday night in Toronto having won its last three games to get to 27-25, the first time the Bulls have been two games better than the breakeven mark since November, when they were 6-4.
The Bulls have wiggle room this summer after clearing Deng off the books and still have the ability to free up more cap space by using their amnesty clause relief to clear Carlos Boozer‘s $16.8 million for 2014-15 off the books.