If you’re following the NBA at all right now, odds are you’re reading up on potential NBA controversies and gearing up for Game 7 of the Finals, or you’re addicted to NBA Draft rumors. This isn’t the time of year for random NBA trades, well, not until Tuesday at the earliest.
The offseason has yet to begin officially, but the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls have already started wheeling and dealing. In a simple one-for-one swap, Detroit has traded Spencer Dinwiddie to Chicago for Australian big man Cameron Bairstow.
Dinwiddie and Bairstow were both second round selections in 2014, selected 38th and 49th, respectively. As second rounders, both players have team options for the remaining two years of their contracts, which are non-guaranteed. Either player can be waved by their new team for nothing.
Bairstow, the former New Mexico Lobo, seems unlikely to make the Pistons roster. Detroit’s roster already has four rotation big men on the books for next year, including fellow countryman Aron Baynes. That doesn’t even include budding star Andre Drummond, who is nearly guaranteed to resign as a restricted free agent. Considering that Detroit’s roster has eleven players signed for next season — not including Drummond or ongoing payments to former Pistons Josh Smith and Aaron Gray — it’s probable that they will cut Bairstow in order to free up a vital roster spot.
Meanwhile, Dinwiddie looks to have a fighting chance of not only staying on Chicago’s roster, but playing meaningful minutes.
After a disastrous 2015-16 season, the Bulls are on the brink of a rebuild. They only have two players signed past next year in Jimmy Butler and Mike Dunleavy, plus whoever they draft with the 14th selection in the draft. (Chicago also has the 48th pick, but that doesn’t come with a guaranteed contract.) Even then, Chicago have suitors galore lining up to trade for the unsettled Butler. Unlike the Pistons, Chicago doesn’t have a major roster crunch necessitating cuts.
In Chicago’s presumed rebuild, it makes sense for them to take flyers on players like Dinwiddie. Picking up unproven or injury prone players on non-guaranteed contracts opens up the possibility of discovering quality role players on the cheap. That’s how fringe players like Patrick Beverly and Will Barton found niches in the NBA.
A role in need of filling for Chicago is that of backup point guard to the oft-injured Derrick Rose. The Bulls have backed up Rose with the Cerberusian trio of Aaron Brooks, Kirk Hinrich and E’Twaun Moore. Hinrich was traded mid-season and Brooks and Moore are free agents. With no other guards on the roster, Dinwiddie should get a long look as a potential backup.
To conclude, here’s an encouraging tweet from CBS Sports’ Sam Vecenie: