By Drew Stevens
The Chicago Bulls held their introductory press conference for Dalen Terry at the Advocate Center Monday. Flanked by head coach Billy Donovan and executive vice president of basketball operations Artūras Karnišovas, Terry wore a smile fit for someone whose dream became a reality just five days ago.
Neither Karnišovas nor Donovan nor the 18th overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft were particularly long winded in their responses to the media. But here’s what stood out.
Terry on how excited he is to be a Bull…
“I mean honestly, when I worked out here, I just loved the gym, loved the facility, loved the people around here. And obviously it’s a rich culture. Who else wouldn’t want to be here?”
Sure, Terry would’ve been foolish to say anything less than complimentary about his new employer. Still, his sentiment is further evidence of the about-face the franchise has undergone in the court of public opinion nevertheless. No offense to the players who didn’t survive Karnišovas and general manager Marc Eversley’s roster turnover, but DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vučević, Alex Caruso, and Lonzo Ball make Chicago a much softer landing spot than it would’ve otherwise been.
Donovan on what jumped out to him about Terry…
“I think the one thing that stood out to me was just his athleticism, his energy, his motor, his competitiveness…you can feel his presence out there athletically and you can feel his intensity.”
Given the criticism hurled at the Bulls’ last first-round pick, Patrick Williams, it’s safe to assume Donovan had every Bulls fan at “…you can feel his presence.” More than his modest counting stats at Arizona (eight points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.2 steals), it’s the purpose with which the 19-year-old plays that likely caught management’s eye too. On a roster with Caruso, Ayo Dosunmu and Javonte Green, Terry should fit right in.
Karnišovas on re-signing Zach LaVine…
“We’ve been very open that we hope that Zach is here for a long time and nothing changed.”
What the front office said with its actions last summer — choosing to operate as an over-the-cap team in hope of bolstering both Zach LaVine’s supporting cast and his chances of crashing the postseason party — Karnišovas put into words in April and repeated Monday. The Bulls are LaVine’s if he wants ‘em. And although Karnišovas wouldn’t confirm it, recent reports indicate he’ll offer the two-time All-Star a five-year, $212 million contract the second the clock strikes 5 p.m. Thursday.
Karnišovas on if drafting Terry was indicative of his desire for continuity…
“Yes because this group has been here only since October, so we’re still getting used to how to play with each other. The start of the season last year was really, really positive and exactly how we want to play.”
Save for when he traded Lauri Markkanen three months after calling the former Bull an essential part of the team, Karnišovas hasn’t been one to contradict himself. So despite the churns of the rumor mill, he should be taken at his word. Karnišovas made mention of his need to find more shooting, size, defense, and athleticism during exit interviews in April. The 6-foot-7, 195-pound Terry, who shot 36.4% from downtown on low volume, doesn’t check all those boxes. But the Bulls have a $10.3 million mid-level exception and a $5 million trade exception to help fill in the gaps.