DEERFIELD – The Bulls may have found an answer to their dire need of some offense.
The Bulls acquired the draft rights to Creighton forward Doug McDermott on Thursday night, allowing them to turn their attention to a bigger move. A trade for Kevin Love? How about adding Carmelo Anthony in free agency?
Those moves sure would jolt a low-scoring team that clawed its way to 48 wins despite losing franchise player Derrick Rose to another season-ending knee injury. This is a start, though.
The Nuggets took McDermott at No. 11 and dealt him to Chicago for the 16th and 19th picks, a person familiar with the situation said on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced.
McDermott led the nation in scoring last season with a 26.7 average and shot 52.6 percent from the field, including 44.9 percent from 3-point range.
He finished his college career as basketball’s fifth-leading scorer and was selected The Associated Press player of the year.
He joins a team that shot a league-low 43.2 percent and relied heavily on its stingy defense.
When Rose, the former MVP, tore the meniscus in his right knee in his 10th game, it cut short his comeback after he sat out last season while recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee. It also forced the Bulls to shift gears.
Instead of challenging Miami for supremacy in the Eastern Conference, they traded away Luol Deng. Despite all that, they still reached the playoffs but got knocked out by Washington in the first round.
Now, they’re in position to make some big additions. Miami suddenly looks vulnerable after getting pounded by San Antonio in the finals, and with LeBron James opting out of his contract, the Eastern Conference could be up for grabs whether he stays with the Heat or not.
The Bulls figure to have $11 million to $12 million in cap space if they amnesty Carlos Boozer with his $16.8 million salary, or they could package him in a trade with one year left on his contract. NBA Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Taj Gibson and the rights to Real Madrid star Nikola Mirotic could also be attractive to other teams. Mike Dunleavy Jr. might also be expendable with McDermott in the mix.
If they don’t land a star in a trade or free agency, the Bulls figure to try to bring over Mirotic and build depth in free agency.
Bulls draft Bairstow in second round
The Bulls selected New Mexico forward Cameron Bairstow in the second round of the draft on Thursday night.
The Bulls took Bairstow with the 49th pick. An Australian, he averaged 20.4 points and 7.4 rebounds as a senior last season.