The Chicago Bulls have made most of the moves they are going to make this summer. They signed Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and brought back Kirk Hinrich, but another under-the-radar move Chicago made recently was offering a three-year contract to Cameron Bairstow, the 49th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The reported contract offer to Bairstow is significant because most second-round picks in the NBA do not get three-year deals; in fact they are not guaranteed of getting any contract at all. There is no word if Bairstow has accepted the deal or what kind of guaranteed money, if any, is involved, but it shows how high Chicago is on Bairstow’s ability.
The offer comes off the heels of Bairstow’s impressive performance playing for the Bulls’ summer league team in Las Vegas, where he has averaged 8.3 PPG while shooting 58.8 percent from the field and grabbing 6.3 rebounds per game. That Chicago team is also 4-0 in the summer league tournament.
The former New Mexico standout and MWC tournament MVP averaged 20.4 PPG, 7.4 RPG and 1.5 BPG, while shooting at a 55 percent clip. At 6-foot-9, Bairstow is perfectly suited to play power forward in the NBA and after four seasons of college basketball plus international experience playing for the Australian national team, he is about as experienced as a rookie can get.
It’s been no secret that the Bulls were high on him, and general manager Gar Forman even expressed interest in trading up to acquire his services in the second round of the draft because Chicago valued him so much.
Now the Bulls are putting their money with their mouth is, and in terms of Bairstow’s future with the team, the three-year contract offer is significant. Not only does it mean that Chicago believes he can play a role for the team down the road, but as cap-strapped as the Bulls are right now, this offer may signal an opportunity for the rookie to earn some minutes right away as a reserve forward.
At the end of the day, you can never have enough talented big guys, and even though Chicago is already loaded with them, Bairstow can rebound, defend and hit a mid-range jumper. If he can do that on a consistent basis, he may be playing more minutes than expected during the 2014-15 season.