The Chicago Bulls have traded forwards Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, along with a 2018 2nd-round pick, to the Oklahoma City Thunder for guards Cameron Payne and Anthony Morrow and center Joffery Lauvergne.
Gibson, who was drafted 26th overall out of USC by the Bulls in 2009, was enjoying career-highs in points per game (11.6), rebounds per game (7.4), and FG% (52.1), among other stats, in his first full season as a starter at power forward.
The Bulls traded five draft picks (two 1st-round, three 2nd-round) to move up in the draft and select McDermott, who had just been named National College Player of the Year at Creighton, with the 11th overall pick in 2014.
Though he is averaging more than 10 points for the first time in his career, his FG% (.445 in 2017 to .452 in 2016) and 3pt% (.373 in 2017 vs. 425 in 2016) are both down from last year. Nonetheless, his addition figures to aid a Thunder team that is second-to-last in 3pt% this year (32.1).
The worst 3pt shooting team in the league, in terms of both 3pt attempts and 3pt% (31.6) is, ironically, the Bulls.
In return for those two players (and the 2nd-round pick), Chicago receives three players (Payne, Morrow, and Lauvergne) that average a combined 5.6 points a game in 15.5 minutes a game. Furthermore, between Payne (30.8%) and Morrow (29.4), the Bulls certainly did nothing to help their outside scoring.
However, the hope is that Payne and Lauvergne, who are 22 and 25 years old, respectively, may develop into something more in time.
All in all, though, to be honest, it’s hard not to feel as if the Bulls were utterly outclassed by the Thunder in this trade. Not only did the Bulls end up trading away two veterans—one of which they’re currently out five draft picks for—for a rather nondescript cast, but they also had to trade away one of their own draft picks to accomplish it.
Furthermore, this haul does nothing ostensibly to either strengthen the Bulls now and alleviate their offensive struggles or to provide a reliable foundation to build upon for the future, especially since they just gave up part of their future.
At least the Bulls got younger and more athletic, I guess… (?) And the Bulls just opened up for more minutes for Bobby Portis (meh) and possibly Denzel Valentine, provided that he doesn’t get sent back to the D-League for no reason again.
Either way, this puzzling trade, plus the fact that other troublesome players (such as Nikola Mirotic and Rajon Rondo) fetched zero interest from other teams, is just another reminder of how bleak the Bulls’ outlook remains for the foreseeable future.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: the Bulls have no idea what they’re doing and where they’re going as a franchise. And somehow, despite actually making a move this year, they still haven’t given us any indication that that’s going to change.