DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Chicago Bulls gave their struggling offense a boost — and bigger moves could be on the way.
The Bulls acquired the draft rights to high-scoring Creighton forward Doug McDermott from Denver on Thursday night, the first addition in what could be a busy offseason.
Next up: A trade for Kevin Love? Or how about 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 along with a second-rounder in 2015. The Bulls also acquired forward Anthony Randolph and his expiring contract. He’s owed $1.825 million and could be a candidate to be dealt considering his salary comes off the books after next season.
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.
With Carlos Boozer and his $16.8 million salary likely to be amnestied if not traded with one year left on his deal, the Bulls have the cap flexibility and the trade chips to make some moves.
Besides Randolph’s expiring contract, they could package Sixth Man of the Year runner-up Taj Gibson or the rights to Real Madrid star Nikola Mirotic in a trade. Mike Dunleavy Jr. might also be expendable, with one more year left on his contract and McDermott now 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.