Torrey Craig

Bulls' Torrey Craig picks up player option to return

With Alex Caruso gone, defensive-minded veteran could play prominent role

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Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

For the second straight offseason, a veteran has surprised some with his decision to return to the Chicago Bulls.

Last offseason, it was Andre Drummond who unexpectedly picked up his player option. This year, though less of a surprise, Torrey Craig has done the same.

The Bulls confirmed that Craig, who turns 34 in December, will return for the 2024-25 season on his $2.8 million contract. Craig, who battled injuries in his first season in Chicago, averaged 5.7 points and 4.1 rebounds in 53 games, including 14 starts, in 2023-24.

But with his career 35.3 percentage from 3-point range, plus his defensive prowess and veteran leadership, he projects to play a prominent role in 2024-25. Particularly with the loss of Alex Caruso, one of the league's---and Bulls'---best perimeter defenders.

Coach Billy Donovan routinely praised Craig's veteran leadership. Even during his injuries, he'd pull players aside for teaching and talking points. Craig averaged 19.8 minutes per game last season.

The guard-heavy Bulls also are light on experienced frontcourt players, especially with the futures of DeMar DeRozan and Patrick Williams uncertain. DeRozan, whose negotiations with the Bulls dried up during their exclusive negotiating period, could become an unrestricted free agent on Sunday. Williams will be a restricted free agent, giving the Bulls any opportunity to match an offer sheet.

Julian Phillips, Williams---if he returns---and possibly even first-round pick Matas Buzelis could draw frontcourt minutes depending on the path the Bulls ultimately take. With Paul George opting out of his Los Angeles Clippers contract to enter free agency on Sunday, the game of musical chairs is set to begin. DeRozan, whom sources said isn't thrilled with some offseason moves like the Alex Caruso trade and assistant coach Maurice Cheeks' departure, is a candidate to replace George on the Clippers should George sign elsewhere.

The Bulls also are shopping Zach LaVine. But Craig is back.

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