It had been rumored for several weeks leading up to the draft that the Bulls were looking to trade up to acquire a shooter. First the targets were supposedly Nik Stauskas and Gary Harris, but shortly before the draft, a "new" target emerged: Doug McDermott, who the Bulls would wind up nabbing on Thursday after trading up.
In reality, the interest wasn't all that new. ESPN Chicago's Nick Friedell said the Bulls had been watching McDermott for years and were "focused" on him in the draft process. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune said that all along, the Bulls were more interested in McDermott than Stauskas as a trade up target. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau already had experience working with McDermott as a part of Team USA.
The new Bulls draftee also hails from Ames, Iowa, where Gar Forman used to work. (HOUSE IN THE AREA!!!!)
So this was clearly brewing for quite some time, and perhaps we should have seen this coming when Ricky revealed that he actually saw McDermott at a Bulls playoff game this past year. Ricky did kind of predict this pick over a month ago, essentially saying McDermott would be a very Bullsian pick because he's their kind of guy, something that K.C. parroted after the selection was made.
Because McDermott was a high-profile shooter from Creighton, the Kyle Korver comparisons are already being made. But Forman wanted to reiterate that the Bulls feel McDermott can be more of an offensive threat than Korver, per K.C.:
"What excites us about Doug is we feel he's more than a shooter," Forman said. "He's a guy who is crafty with the ball, can create his own shot, can go in the post some, has a quick release whether it's from the perimeter or outside."
Thibs also chimed in with a similar statement, and of course, he also brought up defense:
"If you view him as strictly a shooter, you're not casting the proper light on him," Thibodeau said. "He's a lot more than that. We think he's a complete player. We think he's capable of playing very good defense."
The Bulls need shooting in the worst way, and McDermott should help fill that void. Whether he can consistently create his own shot against NBA competition remains to be seen, but the fact that he can really bomb it is a huge plus. Of course, there are questions about his defensive ability, but I feel like what he provides offensively can mitigate some of those defensive issues.
I don't mind the McDermott pick in a vacuum, but I do have some issues with the price to get him, especially with the value available throughout the draft. Not only did the Bulls give up both first-rounders, they also tacked on a second-rounder in 2015. It's easy to argue the second-rounder won't matter, but given that it was already on top of two firsts in a deep draft, I feel like it was a bit much.
And that's not even mentioning Anthony Randolph and his $1.825 million guaranteed salary for next season. Forman said the Nuggets demanded Randolph be included in the deal, and since the Bulls wanted McDermott so much, they agreed to take on that contract into the trade exception created in the Luol Deng trade.
Adding salary seems like a strange move in advance of the Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes, but perhaps this could be a sign that the Bulls anticipate a sign-and-trade acquisition of Anthony more likely than an outright signing. K.C. speculates the Bulls aren't really worried about Randolph's contract at all, and if push comes to shove, it can be dealt if needed.
Something to note about Randolph, though, is he can't be moved in a multi-player deal for two months. At least that's what Forman said and what I gleaned from Larry Coon's CBA FAQ. There was quite a bit of confusion with this rule when Mark Deeks said the Bulls could trade Randolph in a multi-player deal if they're under the cap, because the way I read the CBA FAQ (see questions 83, 87 and 99), a player can't be used in an "aggregated" trade for two months if they were over the cap when the deal happened. The Bulls are over the cap right now, and that's why they were allowed to use the Deng trade exception to absorb Randolph.
[UPDATE by your friendly BullsBlogger, 06/27/14 5:17 PM CDT: Deeks, exhaustively, went through this here.]
This is a point of contention because if the Knicks still want no part of a Melo sign-and-trade that nets them Carlos Boozer, the Bulls would obviously have to include way more salary from elsewhere. The Bulls could go under the cap by amnestying Boozer and then offering up a bunch of salary filler plus some assets in conjunction with cap space to try and get Melo, but if Randolph can't be included no matter what, it could be more difficult to pull that off without trading Taj Gibson. If you're losing Gibson and the ability to add players via the mid-level exception and bi-annual exception, the scenario isn't as appealing.
I'm sorry to bore everybody with salary cap minutiae. It probably won't even matter anyway, and as KC speculated they can do a quick deal to move Randolph separately. Forman did admit the Bulls are "going to have to be creative" when it comes to free agency, because they won't have the cap room they did in 2010. This again would lead one to believe a sign-and-trade for Anthony is more likely than signing him outright.
I do have to give the Bulls some credit for taking a bit of a risk here. While I'm not the biggest fan of the move, they identified a player they really liked and made sure they got him. But it certainly seems like they're putting a lot of eggs in this McDermott/Melo basket, at least that's the way the Chicago Tribune's David Haugh sees it. Haugh almost completely dismisses the possibility of trading for Kevin Love, and he somewhat strangely frames the acquisition of McDermott as a way to "keep alive the courtship of Anthony," which is kind of misleading because the courtship wouldn't have been "dead" if Bulls stayed put.
Ultimately, this is just step No. 1 in what should be an exciting offseason. Gar Forman got his guy in the draft, now hopefully he can get his guy in free agency.