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Why there would be no “Love” lost if the Bulls don’t deal for Kevin Love…

Published by Jerz 7/25/2014

The Chicago Bulls have had one of the more interesting off seasons of any NBA team. Fans of the team would’ve bet any amount of money that they were the favorites to land dynamo Free Agent scoring sensation Carmelo Anthony. We all know how that emotional roller coaster ended with Anthony re-upping with his Knicks for the BIG bucks. The Bulls, on the heels of yet another big time Free Agent “stand up” (like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010 which the Bulls had cap room to land 2 of the 3), seemed to be left out in the cold once again. Luckily Bulls management didn’t have all of their proverbial “eggs in one basket”. A Draft day trade with Denver landed them Creighton’s “All-Everything” Doug McDermott and Free Agency saw them snatch the versatile Pau Gasol off the market. These moves along with the signings of coveted International star forward Nikola Mirotic and diminutive scoring point guard Aaron Brooks suddenly give Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeaux the most offensively loaded roster he’s had at his coaching disposal. 2nd year pro Tony Snell showed a confidence and aggressiveness shooting the basketball from behind the arc in NBA Summer League play that the team hopes carries over to this upcoming season along with the aforementioned McDermott (who showed off his effortless range as well). All of the above combined with the “return” of a certain former MVP gives Bulls fans hopes of representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals. Making a move to acquire a certain disgruntled All-Star from Minnesota could change all of that…

When I first heard that the Bulls were back in the hunt for the services of Kevin Love (after signing Pau Gasol and Nikola Mirotic), I was puzzled. the first ting I wanted to know was what kind of package would they have to offer the Timberwolves for them to bite. When I initially heard the likes of Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and possibly future 1st round draft picks, my reaction was “do it yesterday”! With the signing of Mirotic and Gasol (in addition to drafting rugged Aussie Cameron Bairstow from New Mexico) Gibson now becomes expendable in my mind. I think the team has gotten excellent mileage out of Gibson and Butler alike and if these 2 could net a 25 year old double-double machine that can knock down the three ball you HAVE to get that done! I think McDermott gives the Bulls a consistent behind the arc threat that can open the floor up for the likes of Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol (when on the floor together). The same can be said for Mirotic. This ALL depends, of course, on how quickly both can play defense at a high enough level to warrant Coach Thibs giving them significant minutes. This is where I started to get concerned and I’ll tell you why…

Jimmy Butler (l) and Taj Gibson (r) have become versatile defensive staples for a Bulls team that would miss them dearly if moved for Love
Jimmy Butler (l) and Taj Gibson (r) have become versatile defensive staples for a Bulls team that would miss them dearly if moved for Love

Kevin Love has never been known for his defensive accomplishments on any level. Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson are versatile defenders that can guard multiple positions at a high level and have shown improvements in their offensive games in the last few years. It’s true that Love is a walking double-double waiting to happen with 3 point range and an excellent passer but the Bulls essentially signed 2 players in Gasol (double digit rebounder, great passing Big) and Mirotic (stretch 4 that can knock down the 3 ball)that can give them those same things (plus Pau is more accomplished with his back to the basket). I don’t like the idea of the Bulls having to give up 2 players that personify their identity defensively like Butler and Gibson for a player that doesn’t play much defense at all. When I heard a report about another potential package involving McDermott and Mirotic, I disliked that option even more…

1st round pick Doug McDermott gave fans a glimpse of his shooting prowess in Summer League play for the Bulls and is a talent the team may want to hold on to...
1st round pick Doug McDermott gave fans a glimpse of his shooting prowess in Summer League play for the Bulls and is a talent the team may want to hold on to…

If you’ve ever listened to us talk college hoops this past season or heard any NBA Draft previews we’ve done here on SportzfamRADIO, you KNOW I’ve been beating the drum for former Creighton sharp shooter Doug McDermott all along. What I saw from him in Summer League play, a few weeks back in Las Vegas, gives me cause for excitement. It’s not that he averaged 18 points a game against guys that for the most part won’t even be on NBA rosters when the season opens this fall more so what he’s going to be able to do when on the floor with Noah, Gasol and most importantly Rose. His long range ability transfers immediately to the NBA and he has legit size (around 6’8″) and a nice package of post moves that will make him more than a Kyle Korver type. His biggest adjustment will come trying to defend the most athletic players in the game at small forward (a switch from the power forwards he was obligated to guard in college). His ability to stretch a defense out is a given and something that will give Gasol and Rose more space to operate. I ultimately think he will be a very solid Pro that will fit in nicely with this Bulls team.

The 6'10" Internationally acclaimed Mirotic has been on the Bulls radar for the past 4 seasons and is finally signed, sealed and ready to deliver...
The 6’10” Internationally acclaimed Mirotic has been on the Bulls radar for the past 4 seasons and is finally signed, sealed and ready to deliver…

Then there is the above pictured Nikola Mirotic who Bulls fans have been waiting on and are anxious to see. Mirotic is in the same boat as McDermott as far as having to adjust to the NBA style of play (more specifically on the defensive end) but his ability to step behind the arc and flush three point shots can pay immediate dividends for a team that needs any offensive boast it can get. I’m not a fan of trading 2 guys that can space the floor for 1. People may say “well you don’t know what kind of Pros McDermott and Mirotic will be?” to that I say I know what they CAN do right now and I know what Love is NOT good at (and never has been). Think of the versatility you have as a Bulls fan if you stand pat and deal neither package presented (either Butler, Gibson and picks or McDermott, Mirotic and picks). You either move 2 top flight defenders for a guy that doesn’t play defense particularly well or trade 2 potentially outstanding offensive players (from behind the arc especially) for one? This on top of already signing one of the better power forwards available this summer in Gasol (even at 34 and coming off a season hampered by injuries). I’m just not in “Love” with the possibility, either way. Get at me on Twitter @nicethegr34t …

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