Time for Chicago Bulls to test Doug McDermott trade waters

With Paul Zipser taking minutes away from Doug McDermott, it’s the right time for the Chicago Bulls to see what they could bring back in a deal involving the 25-year-old wing.

The NBA corner of the internet loves the trade deadline. It opens up so many fresh branches of talking points for us starved for new debates. Each team evaluating its future and deciding what their motives are moving forward produces so many possible player moves. Branches on branches of conversation.

Some topics discussed are hotter than others, like if you want to move Jimmy Butler. That’s a topic that can bruise healthy relationships. Some things discussed are more tame and less threatening or controversial. I’m not trying to tear apart any families, so here’s my rationale for the Bulls to move on from Doug McDermott. Something I think a lot of Bulls fans can get behind if the price is right.

I’m not completely out on Doug quite yet. I was an avid believer up until recently. I am much lower than I was a few months ago due to his frustratingly inconsistent offense which has been worse more often than good lately, and his gross habit of straight up losing focus and making bonehead plays.

The problem with wanting to move him now – who wants him? A career 40 percent career 3-point shooter who defends as if he is a rock in a river and his opponents pass by him like water.

So who wants that? His offense hasn’t proved consistent enough to make up for his lack of doing anything productive on the defensive end. And it’s not that the effort isn’t there, he just lacks the instincts. Which indicates he most likely won’t improve much from where he is now, already being 25. If the Bulls could get a young player with potential on both sides of the ball, it’d, of course, be ideal. Since Doug isn’t the hottest asset right now, the asset you get back will realistically be unproven or just show flashes at best. Also, targeting a front office with a shaky history will increase your chances of making a deal. I now bring your attention to the Sacramento Kings.

It’s no secret that the Kings have made questionable moves in recent history. The one proving most regrettable this year is trading Isaiah Thomas for the rights to Alex Orakhi (now playing in Mexico) and a trade exception. Thomas was moved again and is now proving his ability to shoulder an offense with the Boston Celtics. Other bad decisions could convince you that they may be capable of making another one. So why not as least call them up and see how they respond.

The Kings are still in the playoff hunt, and with reports saying they have no indication of trading DeMarcus Cousins they aren’t planning any type of rebuild. They want to make the playoffs and will be looking to get better as we head towards the deadline. With Rudy Gay out for the season with a torn Achilles, don’t be shocked if they look for an offensive minded wing player to fill his role. Could Doug’s 40 percent career 3-point mark be shiny enough to catch the Kings attention? Worth a shot, especially if your requested return is a modest one.

All I would want the Bulls to ask back for in return in this theoretical scenario is rookie wing, Malachi Richardson. I know you just felt the ground shake from the weight of this take rocking the surface of the world. Just stay with me. Malachi is a 21-year-old offensive-minded wing who the Kings acquired via a draft trade with the Charlotte Hornets who drafted Richardson 22nd overall in 2016. Most of his numbers aren’t very pretty so far in his rookie year, though I think that would be a reason the kings can use to talk themselves into it.

It’d be silly to make snap judgments of a rookie’s numbers who is only averaging eight minutes per game, but hey it’s the Kings. Richardson has the tools to grow into one of the coveted 3-and-D wings that work so well in today’s modern game. His 7-foot wingspan could allow him to become a real penetration container type of guy, arguably Doug’s worst defensive trait. You’re also banking that he finds his stroke from behind the arc and can be efficient in that area, his shot looks smooth enough to me. He did come out of college as a catch-and-shoot prospect. He’s shooting 27 percent so far this season from 3-point range.

In the following clips, his physical tools on defense are put on display and you can also get a glimpse at what his shot looks like.

He cuts off Felder from reaching the rim and uses his length to deflect the pass meant for the guy in the corner. It’s only one play, but the fact that he rotated over and still managed to interfere with the pass to the guy he just left open was impressive and I don’t think I’ve ever seen McDermott make a similar play. He then abuses Kyle Korver for a silky step back jumper. Noted, Korver didn’t impress anyone with his defense on this play.

Richardson seems far from a finished product, though his upside is there. And with Zipser looking like a better option than McDermott with every game he plays, taking a chance on a young wing makes more sense than it did before Zipser’s insertion into the rotation.

This would also mean that GarPax have to swallow their pride and admit they missed on McDermott when they traded two first round picks for him. If they are ever going to succeed in the front office they’ll need to admit to their mistakes and learn from them. One can only wish, though.

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