Lonzo insurance? Dragic says he expects to play 20-25 minutes with Bulls

  • Bulls guard Lonzo Ball is recovering slower than expected from knee surgery, according to vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas.

    Bulls guard Lonzo Ball is recovering slower than expected from knee surgery, according to vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas. Associated Press

  • Goran Dragic, who played with the Nets last season, said he expects to play 20 to 25 minutes a game with the Bulls next season.

    Goran Dragic, who played with the Nets last season, said he expects to play 20 to 25 minutes a game with the Bulls next season. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 7/13/2022 11:43 AM

The final piece to the Bulls offseason was veteran point guard Goran Dragic.

One question was whether Dragic, 36, was on board as insurance against Lonzo Ball missing more time due to injury or would he be expected to be part of the regular rotation. Dragic seemed to provide the answer in an interview with Slovenian news source Vecer. Here are some clips using help from Matej Petek and Google translate.

 

"At Chicago I will be the secondary playmaker," Dragic said, "I will play 20-25 minutes per game, so my role will be quite big. This is what I'm looking forward to the most, that I can still play on a high level. Despite 36 years I feel great."

Dragic hosted a basketball camp this week. There was speculation he would join fellow Slovenia native Luka Doncic in Dallas, but he also explained why that didn't happen.

"We were in talks. Dallas offered a contract, but I didn't decide on it," he said. "They imagined that I would play one game and rest five games. I know that I can easily play 20 minutes per game. I'm not ready to retire just to sit on the bench and encourage my teammates."

Meanwhile, Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas joined the NBATV broadcast of Tuesday's Bulls-Raptors summer league game and gave a tepid update on the status of Ball, who has been slow to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery in late January.

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"He's progressing. That's as much as I can say," Karnisovas said. "He's getting better, probably not at the speed that we would like. But he is getting better. Hopefully, he's going to be ready for training camp. That's just our hopes."

There's still more than 10 weeks before training camp begins, so there's no reason to panic. But it seemed clear just by signing Dragic, the Bulls feel they need an experienced backup. At the same time, the Bulls figure to continue trying to develop young guards Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu.

Dragic didn't play much last season after going to Toronto in the sign-and-trade that brought Kyle Lowry to Miami. He played five games for the Raptors, then left the team, later saying he didn't see a fit with the younger squad.

At midseason, he was traded to San Antonio for former Bull Thad Young, then released and signed with Brooklyn. Dragic played 20 games for the Nets, including playoffs. He averaged 10.5 points in the first-round loss to Boston.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Dragic also told Vecer he was interested in joining the Bulls last season and it was difficult in Brooklyn because the team was geared toward getting the ball to stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, rather than a team-oriented approach.

Two years ago, Dragic averaged 16.2 points and 5.1 assists while helping lift Miami to the 2020 Finals in the bubble.

The Bulls summer league squad will carry a 2-1 record into Thursday's game against Charlotte. First-round draft pick Dalen Terry, who turned 20 Tuesday, is averaging 12 points, 3.7 assists and 5.3 turnovers so far.

@McGrawDHSports

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