Former Gonzaga guard Matt Bouldin didn’t hear his name called during the NBA draft on Thursday, but there was plenty of activity behind the scenes.
Late in the second round, Chicago Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson phoned Stu Lash, Bouldin’s agent.
“They were very excited Matt was available to them and for John to call at the tail end of the draft is a strong indication of how they value Matt,” Lash said.
Lash said Bouldin has agreed to a free-agent contract and will join Chicago’s summer league team. The Bulls’ first summer league game is July 13 in Las Vegas.
Bouldin apparently watched the draft at a pizza restaurant near the family home outside of Denver and later was visiting friends.
Lash described Chicago is a “great fit” for Bouldin. Numerous media outlets are reporting that the Bulls will trade guard Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick Kevin Seraphin to Washington to clear salary cap space so the team can pursue big-name free agents. Chicago didn’t have a second-round selection.
“They have very few contracts on their roster for next season so they’ll be in the sweepstakes for free agents,” Lash said. “I see them treating Matt like one of their draft picks. He’s going to have a great opportunity to go in there with a new coaching staff and spend a lot of time with the organization.
“Matt is a competitive guy so I’m sure (he was disappointed he wasn’t drafted), but we prepared him that if you look over the years, the 60 names called on draft night aren’t the 60 best players, not taking anything away from the guys that get drafted. The road to the NBA is not always through the draft.”
Bouldin averaged 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4 assists last season while earning West Coast Conference player of the year honors.