Bulls Quickly Sign Andre Drummond Replacement on Free Agency Day 2

The Chicago Bulls reportedly signed former Indiana Pacers big man Jalen Smith to a three-year deal.
Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Play-In Tournament
Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Play-In Tournament / Rich Storry/GettyImages

After losing backup center Andre Drummond to the Philadelphia 76ers to kick off free agency on Sunday, the Chicago Bulls did not waste any time finding his replacement.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Monday that the Bulls signed free agent center Jalen Smith to a three-year, $27 million contract. The 24-year-old Smith has been the last two years with the Indiana Pacers after being drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the 10th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

With the Bulls going into a rebuild mode this offseason, it makes sense why they took a chance on Smith, who fits perfectly with their new young core. The 6-foot-10 forward is a different type of big man than Drummond, who is one of the best rebounders in the league and plays more in the low post. 

Smith brings more offense to the position and can stretch the floor. The young center is coming off another solid season with the Pacers, averaging 9.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in 17.2 minutes per game. He also shot a career-high 59.2 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from beyond the arc (2.4 attempts per game).

Chicago should be able to play alongside Nikola Vucevic next season for stretches, giving them a good combination of offense and defense. This season, Smith produced an insane 133 ORtg (offensive rating) and 117 DRtg (defensive rating), perfectly describing how the Pacers played.

Nonetheless, Smith is a quality replacement for Drummond as the Bulls appear to be turning the page and getting younger. Now Chicago’s front office has to figure out what to do with Zach LaVine and if he’s a part of those plans.

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