While Chicago Bulls fans are clamoring for news and updates on the Carmelo Anthony front, the Bulls are rumored to be interested in another swingman, Aaron Afflalo of the Orlando Magic, who would add some much-needed perimeter shooting to the Bulls’ lineup.
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Chicago has been in discussions with the Magic about Afflalo, which only proves that the rumors circulating about the Bulls wanting to trade their first-round picks in the 2014 NBA Draft for a veteran shooter are true.
As far as veteran shooters available via trade, Afflalo is solid option. Last season for the Magic, he averaged an impressive 18.2 PPG on 45 percent shooting from the field and an eye-opening 42 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Afflalo has ideal size for an NBA two-guard and in addition to being a lights-out three-point shooter, he is a very good defender. In fact, when he came into the league, the former UCLA standout earned a reputation for his defense, then slowly became more and more of an offensive threat.
After two seasons as a backup with the Detroit Pistons, Afflalo was traded to the Denver Nuggets, where he became the starting shooting guard and developed his offense. In his first season with the Nuggets, he averaged 8.9 PPG, but by his third season in 2011-12, he had upped his average to 15.1 PPG.
The 2007 first rounder has averaged double-figures in scoring four-straight years, making him one of the NBA’s most effective two-way players and an extremely valuable acquisition to the Bulls, who are in need of a guard with his shooting prowess.
The biggest question to answer is what would it take to acquire Afflalo? The Bulls would certainly be offering one or both of their first-round picks in this year’s, but they would also need to include the $4 million in non-guaranteed contracts of Ronnie Brewer, Lou Amundsen and Mike James or other contracts needed to make the money work.
Trading for Afflalo would provide the Bulls with a starting-caliber shooting guard, who is proven three-point shooter and can also counted on defensively to help Chicago maintain it’s strength on that end of the floor.
If the trade goes through as outlined above, the Bulls would still have enough flexibility to acquire Anthony and trading for a proven veteran is going to show that Chicago is serious about winning, which would make bringing Anthony aboard even more likely.
And if Anthony spurns the Bulls, trading for Afflalo will give Chicago a desperately-needed boost in perimeter scoring without having to surrender any key assets other than their first-round picks. It’s a win-win scenario and it’s one Chicago fans should be hoping is finalized before Thursday’s draft.