Bulls Rumors: Harrison Barnes Would Be Excellent Replacement for Luol Deng
Because the Bulls need to get more athletic players and smaller contracts on the roster, dealing Luol Deng to land in the lottery would be a smart move. The move fits even better if it lands the Bulls a chance to select Harrison Barnes out of North Carolina.
Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times reports:
The Bulls have had discussions with teams about trading Luol Deng for a chance to move into the lottery to pick up North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes in Thursday night’s draft.
Is Barnes a markedly better player than Deng?
No, as a matter of fact, in my scouting report, I refer to him as a more-athletic version of Deng. He obviously isn't as experienced as Deng, and he's an unproven commodity. But he'd come into the NBA with more experience than Deng did back in 2004.
He also doesn't have the injury concerns that Luol is hampered with. Deng will likely miss a good part of the upcoming season with his bad wrist.
Barnes is also far more athletic than Deng. Bulls fans love Deng, but let's face it: As an offensive player, he's a spot-up shooter and a slasher.
All things considered: money, upside, current skill set, etc. Who would you rather have?
He can't create off the dribble, and that is a skill the Bulls need in someone other than Derrick Rose. Barnes showed in college that he is a solid athlete, but in the NBA combine he really shined. He posted the highest vertical leap of any prospect that worked out.
Obviously combine numbers aren't the end-all-be-all, but he also averaged 17 points per game this past season for North Carolina. Barnes has a nice mid-range game and a great stroke from deep. Offensively, his upside is better than Deng's offensive reality.
He is a solid defender as well. He may not be on-par with Deng in this category, but he's far from a liability in this area.
Then there is the money issue. Deng is set to make over $13 million dollars this year. If the Bulls acquired a lottery pick, and selected Barnes, they could be saving themselves five-to-seven million dollars in cap space.
Barnes would help ensure the Bulls don't fall too far back this season, and this would allow the team the financial flexibility to make other moves in the future.
Hayes says that the Bulls aren't likely to make a splash, but if the team has a shot to land in the top five, they would be wise to move Deng and grab Barnes.
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