In the latest flurry of discussion about the Chicago Bulls' ongoing search for a backup shooting guard, it appears the possibility of trading with the Portland Trail Blazers for Rudy Fernandez is now a likely scenario.
Much of this speculation comes from a Twitter post by Tommy Dee, which stated:
"Source says a deal with Rudy Fernandez and the Bulls could be done by monday. James Johnson to portland but the Blazers want a draft pick as well."
If fans learned one thing from 2010 free agency, it's that "sources" are not to be trusted. Assuming that this source is indeed telling the truth, is this a smart decision by the Bulls?
It all depends on the draft pick.
Swapping James Johnson for Fernandez is a no-brainer. Johnson is still a raw talent, and will be the 12th man on the Bulls roster this season.
Tom Thibodeau would probably send him to the NBDL so he could get game experience at shooting guard.
The Bulls don't have time for potential. That's Johnson's lone value.
Fernandez has proven that he's a multi-faceted, talented basketball player.
Moreover, he provides what Ronnie Brewer can't at the shooting guard position: outside shooting.
Right now, Kyle Korver is the only true long-range shooter the Bulls have on their roster. Fernandez would provide that second option that Chicago tried to obtain with J.J. Redick.
With all that said, throwing in a first-round draft pick does not make sense for the Bulls.
With the way this team is built, and with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah near the end of their contracts, Chicago will likely be in the luxury tax for years to come. That means the best way for the team to improve is through the draft.
Additionally, those multiple first-round picks will have greater value near the trade deadline during the season, where the Bulls could make an even bigger splash by obtaining a player like Carmelo Anthony.
Bottom line is I'd rather get Roger Mason Jr. or Keith Bogans than give up a first-round pick.
Plus it's unclear whether Fernandez will be a happy camper coming off the bench in Chicago. He's already complaining about playing time in Portland, and unless the Bulls' staff decide to name him the starter over Brewer, he'll likely be in the exact same position.
The Bulls' front office has done a tremendous job this offseason, considering it struck out on the SuperFriends.
Now's not the time to be hasty and jeopardize the future.
Patience is the key with this move. Gar Forman and John Paxson need to make it clear to Portland that they have the upper hand.
They don't need Fernandez. They have options.
Is he the best shooting guard Chicago can reasonably acquire? Yes.
But the Bulls should not pay an arm and a leg to get a backup. Recent history has shown management is successful with late first-round picks (Taj Gibson).
Play hardball with Portland. Don't give up a draft pick, and definitely don't trade away Gibson.
If a deal indeed gets done early next week, it had better be on the Bulls' terms.
Update: The New York Knicks have reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with Roger Mason Jr. They appeared unwilling to give up a first-round pick to Portland for Rudy Fernandez.