In a significant development for Turkish basketball, Onuralp Bitim, the 24-year-old forward, has agreed to sign a two-way contract with the Chicago Bulls, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The news, which broke last month courtesy of Basketfaul.com, marks a remarkable achievement for Bitim, who had a standout season with Bursaspor in Turkey’s EuroCup and Turkish BSL leagues.
The 6-foot-5 swingman put up impressive numbers during his time with Bursaspor, leading to his well-deserved NBA opportunity. Bitim’s performance in the EuroCup saw him average an impressive 18.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 18 games, while his domestic championship stats stood at 18.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 3.2 assists per game.
Bitim’s journey to the NBA has been a culmination of hard work and dedication to the sport. His basketball career began in 2016 with Anadolu Efes after attending high school in Huntington, West Virginia. He later moved to Pinar Karsiyaka before settling with Bursaspor in 2021. Along the way, Bitim has proven himself as a skilled and versatile player, contributing significantly to each team he represented.
During the past season, Bitim’s stellar performance with Bursaspor earned him a spot on the All-EuroCup second team. His overall numbers across both leagues were impressive, with averages of 17.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and one steal in 50 games. He also showcased his shooting prowess, maintaining an impressive field goal percentage of 45%, including 36.6% from beyond the arc.
Bitim’s achievements extend beyond the domestic and EuroCup competitions. In 2020, he took home the Turkish League Slam Dunk Contest title, showcasing his athleticism and flair. Moreover, his international endeavors have seen him represent Turkey in several events, including the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup European qualifiers, where he put up commendable averages of 8.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and two assists in seven games.
As per the terms of the two-way contract, Bitim will divide his time between the Chicago Bulls in the NBA and their G League affiliate, the Windy City Bulls. Two-way contracts are designed to provide players with an opportunity to experience both the NBA and G League, offering a pathway to further develop their skills and potentially secure a full-time roster spot in the future.
With this move to the NBA, Bitim joins an exclusive group of Turkish players currently plying their trade in the world’s most prestigious basketball league. Among them are Furkan Korkmaz (Philadelphia 76ers), Cedi Osman (formerly with the Cleveland Cavaliers, now with the San Antonio Spurs), Alperen Sengun (Houston Rockets), and Omer Yurtseven (formerly with the Miami Heat, now with the Utah Jazz). This growing presence of Turkish talent in the NBA highlights the country’s increasing influence and recognition in the global basketball community.