Bulls waive Stanley Johnson, keep shooting in Matt Thomas

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Bulls waive Stanley Johnson, keep Matt Thomas originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bulls' Iowa State connections continue.

Matt Thomas, widely considered to become a training camp casualty when he signed, has survived Saturday's cuts that pared the Bulls' roster to 17 players and included Stanley Johnson. When the Bulls signed Johnson to a non-guaranteed training camp deal, many figured the former eighth overall pick would stick.

But Javonte Green's emergence to absorb power forward minutes in the Bulls' small-ball lineup plus Thomas' shooting ability turned the tides. Executive vice president Artūras Karnišovas always has valued shooting.

The Bulls also waived Troy Baxter Jr., who they just signed Friday and is expected to land with the G League affiliate Windy City Bulls.

With Alize Johnson's strong camp, he is guaranteed to land on the regular-season roster that is due to the league office on Monday. Johnson, a 6-foot-7 big man, served as the team’s de facto backup center while Tony Bradley was sidelined for the team’s first three preseason games and impressed in that role. He averaged eight points and nine rebounds in just 13.5 minutes per game.

"He's done a really really good job," coach Billy Donovan said of Alize Johnson. "We really like him." 

The Bulls' roster currently stands at 17 players, which includes Devon Dotson's two-way contract. The Bulls have one open two-way contract, which will go to forward Tyler Cook, according to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski.

That means Thomas, a 6-foot-4 off-guard who, like Tim Floyd, Gar Forman and Fred Hoiberg, has Iowa State connections, will stick for now. He assumed mostly mop-up minutes and averaged 5.5 points while shooting 33.3 percent from 3-point range in preseason. He's a specialist who can serve as the 15th man if the Bulls opt to keep 15 players, and he's also expendable if the Bulls utilize the trade exception from the Daniel Theis transaction during the season.

Cook appeared in just two games for a total of 12 minutes.

When Ethan Thompson and Daniel Oturu were waived by the team before the fourth preseason game, Donovan sounded hopeful both would stick with the Windy City Bulls.

Before Friday's preseason finale, Donovan talked about the difficulties of back-end roster cuts.

"Those guys have all been incredibly professional and they've worked hard,"  he said. "And I think any time you're making those kind of decisions, it's always difficult because I think all these guys have tried to come in professionally and work every day to try to impact the group in a positive way."

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