Bulls sign DePaul's Strus to be second two-way player
The Bulls finally added a second two-way player Tuesday, signing former DePaul star Max Strus. He'll likely spend the majority of the season with the Windy City Bulls.
Strus, an athletic 6-5 shooting guard, is a local success story. After playing at Stagg High School in Southwest Suburban Palos Hills, he spent two years at the Division 2 level at Lewis University.
Then he sat out a year and transferred to DePaul. Last season, he was named second-team All-Big East, averaging 20.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists. Strus set a single-season school record with 113 made 3-pointers.
Strus went undrafted, played for Boston's summer league team, then signed a two-way deal with the Celtics in July. He played in four preseason games with Boston, had his contract converted to a full NBA deal, but was among the last players cut by the Celtics.
This is the third year the two-way contract has existed. It allows G-League players to spend up to 40 days with the NBA parent team and get paid an NBA salary when they're there.
Short road ahead:
The Bulls will start the season playing four of five games on the road. But all four of those road opponents missed the playoffs last season and aren't widely expected to make it this year, either. So there's an opportunity for a fast start and the opening two weeks might say a lot about the state of the rebuild.
"We don't talk about playoff team, non-playoff team. We're talking about Charlotte," Bulls coach Jim Boylen said Tuesday. "We're going to play as hard as we can against Charlotte. That's what we can control. And then we'll move on."
After opening the season against the Hornets, the Bulls move onto Memphis on Friday. Next week, they visit New York and Cleveland. That's a lot of road time and there's still a West Coast trip during Thanksgiving weekend.
"I think it's great. We get on that plane and close the door, it's a safe place for us," Boylen said. "We go down there, it's us on the road. I love that mentality. It's a really good thing. But if we were having a home opener, I wouldn't say it's a bad thing.
"I worked for Larry Bird in Indiana and he'd always say it's 41 home and 41 road. Get ready to play. That's what we're going to try to do."
Unselfish style sought:
Lauri Markkanen offered a preview of what the Bulls may look like in Wednesday's season opener.
"Obviously we've been working on our defense, so we're trying to take their scoring away," he said. "It's just playing unselfish basketball. They're going to play defense on us, but I think our style of play is really going to be good for us."