Bulls pick Matas Bozlis continues youth movement – NBC Sports Chicago

Submitted by National Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Bulls did not select Cooper-Flagg on Wednesday.

But they’ve increased their ability to put themselves in position to do just that. By selecting Matas Bozlis with the 11th pick in the first round of the two-day NBA draft, they’ve continued the potential rebuild that management may be undertaking as a tool to re-tool that began with the trade of Alex Caruso last week for Josh Gaede.

Make no mistake: Not only is Zach LaVine available for trade, the Bulls are open for business as well. And with the buzz growing that DeMar DeRozan will be somewhere else next season, either via sign, trade or simply walking into unrestricted free agency, competitiveness is no longer the buzzword.

It’s Cooper.

The Bulls need to finish in the bottom 10 next season to keep the protected first-round pick they owe to the San Antonio Spurs in their sign-and-trade acquisition of DeRozan starting in August 2021. This is the month in which Artūras Karnišovas and his staff reshaped the Bulls. With vision that led the Eastern Conference until Lonzo Ball’s left knee required the first of multiple surgeries.

After management had already spent rebuilding money centered on Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and others they inherited upon their hiring, it attempted to remain competitive after one season of the playoffs. Instead, the Bulls failed to make it out of the Play In Tournament in two straight seasons.

And now, with the addition of a dynamic guard with upside in Jedi, the draft of a 19-year-old in Matas Pozlis and all signs pointing to the Bulls re-signing Patrick Williams in restricted free agency, a youth movement could be in full swing.

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The Bulls liked Ron Holland II, according to sources, who went to the Detroit Pistons with the fifth overall pick. But Buzelis was widely expected to be gone by the Bulls’ 11th houry He chooses.

In fact, after having talks to move up in the draft with Donovan Clingan as a potential target or go back with another local kid, Terrence Shannon Jr., as a possibility, the Bulls fully expected someone high on their draft board to be available at the No. 11 spot.

That person is Bozlis, a 6-foot-9 forward who was born and raised in Chicago and played for Hinsdale Central for a year and played for the G League Ignite last season.

Buzelis spoke to NBC Sports Chicago in March about hypothetically playing for the Bulls.

“I’d feel good about it,” he said at the time. “Hometown champion! It would be fun to play for Chicago. I used to watch them when I was younger, watching Derrick Rose play. It would be a drug experience. … We’d go to games a lot when the Grizzlies played because one of my dad’s clients, who he works with, plays for the Grizzlies.”

Providence guard Devin Carter, long linked to the Bulls, was available. Since he’s expected to be more engaged than Buzelis, it’s another sign that the Bulls are playing the long game here.

“I’m ready to work,” Buzelis told ESPN Radio.

There will be big opportunities in what has suddenly become a youth movement with Coby White, Ayo Dosunmu, Dalen Terry and Julian Phillips also on the roster.

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