The Bulls are using their second two-way player opening to sign a high-upside young prospect… just kidding, it’s Malcolm Hill again.
Shams Charania of The Athletic was the first to report the news. The Bulls had tendered Hill a qualifying two-way offer back in June, and HoopsRumors has confirmed he accepted that QO and is on a one-year contract.
Expected, but it’s a bummer nevertheless. Bringing back Hill, a 27-year-old swingman who is what he is at this point (which is pretty definitively not an NBA caliber player), reeks of the old regime. It’s not as if adding Hill instead of some young upstart saves Jerry Reinsdorf any money, either, so it’s really just a terrible basketball decision.
If the Bulls so desperately wanted to retain Hill, the team could have simply signed him to an affiliate deal with their G League team. The Bulls didn’t need to blow a two-way contract on him, nobody else was going to pick him up with that better contract.
Across 19 NBA games last year as his first in the NBA, Hill failed to carve out consistent rotation run. During his 19 games with the Hawks and Bulls, the wing averaged just 3.8 points on .462/.362/.786 shooting, along with 1.8 rebounds, in 11.2 minutes a game. Hill went undrafted out of the University of Illinois 2017, and logged time overseas with a variety of clubs before trying his luck in the NBA ahead of the 2021-22 NBA season.
It’s worse because Chicago’s other two-way player, 20-year-old promising former Marquette forward Justin Lewis, tore his ACL during a workout last month. It’s possible they will opt to release Lewis and seek to add one of the current players on a training camp deal on a new two-way deal instead, but there’s no reason to trot Hill out again, aside from perhaps as some favor for someone?
In terms of where the Bulls might look for a Lewis replacement, that may come down to training camp prospects Javon Freeman-Liberty, a 6’4” shooting guard out of DePaul, and Carlik Jones, a 6’1” point guard who made the All-NBA G League Third Team last year after going undrafted out of Louisville in 2021. Jones had some fun moments in Summer League with Chicago this July after making cameos in five NBA games last year between the Mavericks and Nuggets.
There will also be opportunities during training camp for players cut by other teams.