The Chicago Bulls are long removed from the days of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, that much is certain. Also removed from the days of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, the Bulls currently find themselves at a franchise-making crossroads: do they rebuild around All-Star shooting guard/small forward Jimmy Butler or do they trade him for prospects and start over from the ground up? In a competitive Eastern Conference that still is LeBron James' until the King eventually retires in 10 to 15 years, it's a tough call.
Let's not act like all of the change in Chicago is anything new, however. Because of injuries, coaching changes, and Rose losing his knees, the Bulls have had to add plenty of marginal backup players to the mix, especially when their star point guard was joined on the injury list by Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah.
Before the days of Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, the Bulls were fixing holes by filling the rosters with aging backups and players who, even a few short years later, fans likely don’t remember (or, choose not to remember). From former All-Stars to solid backups who remained exactly that when they left the Windy City, the Chicago Bulls have had plenty of players over the past few seasons who, when their names are mentioned in the same name as the team, will cause fans to say, “wait, they were on the Bulls?”
Today, let’s look at some of those former Bulls players that, for one reason or another, likely aren’t remembered by even the most diehard fans…
15 Kurt Thomas
For a long time in the NBA, Kurt Thomas was everywhere and would not leave. No matter if he was with earning paychecks with the Knicks, Suns, Sonics, Spurs, or any of the other nine total franchises he played with, there was no way to rid ourselves of Kurt Thomas; not that that was a bad thing, especially with his veteran presence off the bench. Tom Thibodeau and friends experienced this first-hand in the 2010-11 season when the former TCU star linked up with an upstart Bulls team that had made two straight playoff appearances.
Thomas played 52 games with the Bulls and started 57 of them, but averaged his highest rebounding total since the 2007-08 season with 5.8 a game off the bench. Not too bad for a player that was 38 on opening night!.
14 Marquis Teague
Best known as the little brother to Hawks and Pacers All-Star Jeff, Marquis Teague was taken 29th overall in the 2012 NBA Draft because...why? Was it to get another shooter off the bench? Was it the allure of adding a player from Kentucky? If the Bulls wanted a point guard could provide an impact and potentially be a stopgap while Derrick Rose recovered from his first torn ACL, Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups were both available in free agency!
Instead, the Bulls took Teague, who didn't do much in his season and a half with the Bulls, averaging 2.3 points per game with 1.4 assists in roughly ten minutes of play. There wasn't much to remember from the younger Teague's time in Chicago, something that's slowly becoming deja vu with older brother Jeff's stint in Indiana.
13 John Salmons
When he was active, Salmons was more or less a member of the All Very-Good But Not Good Enough To Be An All-Star Team, joining such names like Richard Jefferson and Stephen Jackson. Or, if you were a player of NBA Live or NBA 2K, these were guys who could score at will and play decent enough defense. Salmons played a season and a half with the Bulls, averaging 18.3 points and a career-high 4.3 rebounds per game in 26 games with red and black during the 2008-09 season.
The next season, along with most of the Bulls, Salmons' numbers took a bit of a dip, with his points per game falling to 12.7 on .420 percent from the field. By midseason, the Bulls - who also wanted to create cap space for the 2010 free agent class - shipped him off to Milwaukee for Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander. Talk about two names that nobody's heard in forever...
12 Lou Amundson
Put simply, Lou Amundson's time in Chicago was so unmemorable that finding a picture of him with the Bulls is nearly impossible. You can even search his own personal Facebook page and the chances of finding one are about as high as...well, him sticking around anywhere for longer than a year. Best known for his ponytail and his most recent stints with the New York Knicks, Amundson played a grand total of two games with the Bulls, playing two minutes with them in 2012-13 and a lone minute the next year.
Really, Amundson does fit into the mold of players you forgot played for the Chicago Bulls because he played three total minutes! Maybe he did some cool pranks in the clubhouse or won the team's card games?
11 Mike James
I'm Mike James...no, that's Rick James. Not an icon on Dave Chappelle's show, Mike James was instead an NBA journeyman best known for winning an NBA Finals with the 2003-04 Detroit Pistons and for averaging 20 points on a Toronto Raptors team two years later. Well after those days were gone, James took his talents to the Bulls who were in need of another wing shooter. James' stints in two Chicago were short, with stint number one in the 2011-12 season featuring 11 games of 4.8 points per game in 10.9 minutes.
Two seasons later, James played another 11 games with the Bulls, though his points per game were down to 1.0 and he was only playing seven minutes a night. Had the Bulls played him more, maybe they'd have won an NBA Finals with Derrick Rose and friends...
10 Ronnie Brewer
Doesn't it feel like Ronnie Brewer has been around much longer than only 2006? The 14th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz, Brewer was Mr. Basketball in Arkansas in 2003 but wasn't really ever Mr. Anything in the NBA. Brewer had two separate stints with the Bulls; those first seasons coming in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, where he averaged over six points and three rebounds a night both years.
While he wasn't the explosive Sixth Man that a Jamal Crawford or a J.R. Smith could be, Brewer was consistent off the bench and gave the Bulls a spark when they needed one. After time with the Knicks, Thunder, and Rockets, Brewer returned to Chicago in 2013-14 for...one game and a lone minute. It wasn't the greatest finish, but he at least played more for the Bulls than Lou Admunson did...
9 Aaron Brooks
But wait, you say, why wouldn't we remember a player who spent the past two seasons with the Bulls and was a major bench contributor both years? Remember all of the drama that happened with the Bulls in the final years of Tom Thibodeau, Joakim Noah, and Derrick Rose? That, friends, is why you're likely not to remember Brooks came to Chicago prior to the 2014-15 season and averaged 11.6 points per game on .421 percent shooting from the field - his highest mark since a .459 mark in 46 games with the Sacramento Kings in 2012-13 - and averaged 4.5 points in the playoffs.
Last season, Brooks added 7.1 points off the bench, but the Bulls missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2007-08 season. And no, Saints fans, this is not the Aaron Brooks who preceded Drew Brees at quarterback in the mid 2000s.
8 Nate Robinson
When Nate Robinson was good, there were few more exciting players to watch...especially when it came to slam dunks. After stints with the Celtics, Thunder, and Warriors didn't work out too well - though Robinson did average 11.2 points per game in that last stop - the former Slam Dunk champion had to sign what was essentially a prove-it deal with the Chicago Bulls.
With Derrick Rose out for the season and the Bulls in need of a spark at the point guard position, Robinson stepped up and showed flashes of the form he had with the Knicks, averaging 13.1 points per game on 4.33 percent shooting from the field. All Bulls fans, however, will remember the gritty performance Robinson put on in the postseason, averaging 16.3 points and 4.4 assists per game while single-handedly leading the red and black over the Brooklyn Nets in the first round.
7 Acie Law
If you're having trouble remembering Acie Law and why he sounds so familiar, here's a brief reminder: Law played college basketball at Texas A&M, helping the Aggies become the first Big 12 South team (in 32 attempts) to ever beat the Kansas Jayhawks at Allen Fieldhouse in 2007 - and he did it when the Jayhawks were ranked sixth in the nation! Less than a month later, Law played all 50 minutes of a double-overtime game against Texas, showcasing enough grit to make him the 11th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.
When things didn't work out with Atlanta, Golden State, or Charltote, Law took his talents to Chicago, spending 12 games with the Bulls in the 2009-10 season and averaging 5.5 points per night on .467 percent shooting from the field.
6 C.J. Watson
Another player that feels like he's been around much longer than only 2008 (though this one makes sense, as Watson played international ball), Watson spent the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons with the Bulls, starting 25 games in the latter, lockout-shortened campaign and averaging what was then the second best scoring output of his career with 9.7 points a game. During the 2012-13 playoffs, Watson started five games and averaged 7.3 points for the Bulls, who lost in the second round to LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
Since then, Watson has played with the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, and Orlando Magic, not lasting more than two seasons in any given spot. Could that mean Watson will be headed back to the Windy City this summer as a potential replacement for Rajon Rondo? Perhaps...
5 Ömer Aşık
Now here's someone that, if you forgot played for the Bulls, you're not alone. After playing the first few years of his career overseas on teams like Fenerbahçe, FMV Işık Spor Kulübü, Alpella, and Fenerbahçe (no, seriously, those are real teams), Asik spent the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons with the Bulls, only averaging roughly 13 minutes, three points, and four rebounds in total. By no means was Asik a dominant presence in the front court, especially not with Carlos Boozer still playing at a valuable level.
Still, Asik managed to become a fan favorite, being nicknamed "The Turkinsh Hammer" and "Asik and Destroy" by former Bulls center Stacey King, who now serves as a color commentator for Bulls games on TV. Like with Watson, Asik wouldn't be a bad pickup for the Bulls this coming summer...
4 Kyle Korver
If you were under the impression Kyle Korver spent his entire career with the Atlanta Hawks before being traded to Cleveland earlier this year, you'll be surprised to know Korver's been places other than Atlanta. Honestly, you'll probably be more surprised to know that Korver's played in Philadelphia and Utah in addition to Chicago, where he spent the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.
Providing a reliable scoring option off the bench, Korver averaged over eight points both seasons and made .457 of his three-pointers in 2011-12, the second-highest mark he'd tallied to that point in his career. It wasn't until Korver became an All-Star sniper with the Atlanta Hawks that he really turned into a household name, but don't let that fool you into thinking he was useless with the Bulls.
3 D. J. Augustin
Augustin is another player whose time was in Chicago was brief - though not as brief as the 10 games he spent in Toronto to start the season, at least. The positive here is that Augustin's time in Chicago was one of the more successful on this list, with the Texas product averaging a career-best 14.9 points per game with five assists and 2.1 rebounds per game; Augustin's .419 shooting percentage from the field was also his highest since his rookie season in 2008-09 with the then-Charlotte Bobcats. So much for his days as a productive NBA player being over, apparently...
Augustin has bounced around with the Pistons, Thunder, Nuggets, and Magic since leaving Chicago, though stands as yet another former Bull who wouldn't be a bad fit to return next year. With no more Rajon Rondo (most likely, at least), the Bulls are going to need some type of option at point guard, right?
2 Richard Hamilton
We rightfully think of Richard 'Rip' Hamilton as a Detroit Piston because for over a decade, that's where he made his mark with the All-Star Games, the NBA Finals victory, and an emergence into one of the league's premier names. What we forget, however, is that Hamilton didn't retire in Detroit and instead spent the final two seasons of his All-Star career with the Bulls in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
When he first came to the Windy City, Hamilton looked like his old self, scoring 11.6 points per game on .452 percent shooting from the field - his highest mark since a .484 percentage in the 2007-08 season - in the first season with the red and black. Year two saw Hamilton average single-digit scoring (barely, though, at 9.8 points per game) for the first time since his rookie year, which was a fair bookend because the 2012-13 season was Hamilton's swan song.
1 Jimmer Fredette
Jimmer Fredette is the Tim Tebow of basketball and it has nothing to do with his faith. It's because despite being a mediocre player at best, there's still so much love for them among fans. Everyone wants to see Tim Tebow come back and be an NFL great the same way everyone wants to see Jimmer return from China and become an NBA Hall of Famer.
When he was still playing stateside, Fredette played eight games with the Bulls in the 2013-14 season, averaging four points in seven minutes per game. That's it. Nothing spectacular, nothing jaw-dropping, nothing that made people think Jimmer was headed for stardom. Nothing more than an average of four points in eight games for the Bulls.
And still, Fredette is the Tim Tebow of basketball. Hooray for the internet!
Which players do you vaguely remember wearing a Chicago Bulls uniform? Make sure to let us know in the comment section below.