The Chicago Bulls have agreed to a three-year contract with Cameron Bairstow, according to the team website.
The Chicago Bulls announced today the signing of 2014 second round draft pick Cameron Bairstow. Chicago selected Bairstow with the 49th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“We like Cameron’s combination as a player with his size, energy and physicality,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman. “He is a hard worker who will only get better with time.”
While the team did not release details of the deal, Bairstow will receive a guaranteed year on his contract, as well as half of his second year salary, according to the Albuquerque Journal. That’s a fairly large and atypical commitment to a late second round pick, so the Bulls must really like what they’ve seen out of the Australian big man.
Bairstow averaged 20.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game in his senior season at New Mexico. Mostly operating out of the midrange, Bairstow’s jump shot was among the most deadly weapons in the NCAA this season. If he got any sort of space or time to get it off, you could almost count the basket before it went through the hoop. Given the way that teams are always striving for space from their big men, Bairstow’s shooting ability is definitely translatable to the NBA. He doesn’t possess NBA three-point range, but he should be able to at least clear the lane out for some Derrick Rose drives. Also, he fits right in with the high-level ball movement that the Bulls will be expecting from their big men this season, as he had a 12% assist rate last year.
He’ll need to improve upon his defensive skill in space, but there is a definite chance that he can stick in the NBA. Still, I’m a bit surprised that he got a fully guaranteed deal for the first year. The Bulls should be competing for the Eastern Conference crown, and having non-guaranteed deals sometimes helps to facilitate deadline deals for cash-strapped teams.
It’s unlikely that Bairstow will play a major role in the upcoming season, given that Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, and Taj Gibson are ahead of him on the depth chart. But he will be good insurance in case one of the aforementioned injury prone stars gets hurt.