Bulls sign hometown product Alfonzo McKinnie, drop Alize Johnson


Alfonzo McKinnie’s “Biggest Dream Come True” will continue.

On Sunday morning, the Chicago Bulls signed a contract with the hometown product after relinquishing forward Alize Johnson.

Shortly after signing, the team also said McKinnie had landed in league health and safety protocols, slightly delaying the storybook’s pursuit.

The move gives Johnson, whose deal was not fully guaranteed until Jan. 7, the opportunity to find work elsewhere after early-season playing time dries up for him. And that keeps McKinnie, who has played locally at Curie and Marshall High Schools, in the fold after he originally arrived as a hardship exception on December 10, signing 10-day contracts that day and December 20.

“I’m a West Side kid. I grew up about 10, 15 minutes later. House was a house of Bulls. I watched the Bulls grow, “McKinnie said after scoring 16 points, five rebounds and a block in the recent win over the Rockets.” So just being able to compete on the highest stage in my hometown My favorite side of town, the West Side, was surreal to be honest. Just putting on this jersey was everything for me.

McKinnie, who made the NBA Finals for the Golden State Warriors, arrived via the Mexico City Capitanes of the G League. It gives the Bulls another athletic wing option with improved 3-point shooting. With three appearances with the Bulls to his name, he’s averaging 8 points and 2.3 rebounds while shooting 50% over a 3-point range (four attempts per game).

Johnson averaged 1.8 points and 2.3 rebounds over 16 games. He showed great promise as an active rebounder at first, especially on the offensive side, but coach Billy Donovan began to go for different rotation choices.

The Bulls can still open a spot on the roster by the February 10 trade deadline if they choose by forgoing Matt Thomas and his unsecured deal. Additional roster spots can be invaluable during trading season, as they allow teams to execute uneven trades in which they receive more players than they send. However, the Bulls must also balance concerns about the luxury tax and the hard cap.

RELATED: McKinnie Fulfills Most ‘Dreams Come True’ With Bulls

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