Evaluating the Bulls' Trade Deadline

Evaluating the Bulls' Trade Deadline
Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune Bulls General Manager Gar Forman on July 7, 2016.

There were a lot of questions surrounding the Bulls around the trade deadline. Would they move Jimmy Butler and start a rebuild? Would any of the number of role players involved in rumors over the last month or so fetch anything in return? Now that the deadline has passed we have answers, and they aren’t encouraging.

Jimmy Butler is still a Bull. This is probably a good thing. He’s a top 10 player in the league right now, and still only 27. You can absolutely still build a contending team around him. If Boston wasn’t willing to give up both of the Nets picks over the next two years, a trade probably didn’t make sense. However this isn’t exactly encouraging,

A Butler trade would signal a complete teardown. So there is no need to add the Celtics secondary players who you aren’t building around as opposed to picks. But if this alone doesn’t show you that the Bulls are clueless, let’s get to the trade that was actually made.

There is no logic behind this trade. Taj Gibson, despite his expiring contract, was the Bulls’ most valuable asset after Butler. And the team was reportedly desperate to get something for him instead of losing him for nothing in the offseason like they did with Pau Gasol last year. And this move reeks of desperation.

Gibson is by far the best player involved in this deal, and still the most valuable despite his expiring contract. McDermott is a very flawed player, and I’ve been tougher on him than most, but the one thing that he does bring to the table, his shooting, is the one thing the Bulls need most alongside Butler. Yet the Bulls got almost nothing in return.

Payne is the centerpiece of the Thunder’s package. He was the 14th pick back in 2015 draft. He was effective in a pick and roll heavy offense in college at Murray State but has yet to find his footing thus far in the NBA. Granted, he has been stuck behind Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City, but he’s only shooting 30% from three. According to Micah Adams from ESPN Stats and Info, of the 353 NBA players with over 300 minutes played this season, Payne’s PER of 6.1 is tied for 349th with Paul Zipser.

Anthony Morrow has made a career out of being a three-point specialist, but is only shooting 29% from long range this season. He’s also 31 years old. He still provides floor spacing because teams will respect his range based on reputation, but he needs to find his shooting stroke again to provide any value.

Lauvergne is a 25 year old center in his third year in the league after coming over from France. He’s only averaging 14.8 minutes per game this year, and has never averaged over 18 minutes in any of his three seasons. He doesn’t space the floor at all, and will likely struggle to find minutes in the Bulls frontcourt rotation behind both Robin Lopez and Cristiano Felicio.

The Bulls could have gone in a couple directions at this deadline. They could have dealt Butler, and whatever other veterans they could move, and start to fully rebuild. Or they could have worked to get a couple players who compliment Butler better than the current roster and seen what a team truly built around him could look like. Instead they opted to make one move that is lateral at best. None of the players they got will really help them in a playoff push, nor are they building blocks for the future. They didn’t really get much younger or athletic. Instead, the season will finish in the same way it’s played out thus far, with the Bulls making a pointless push for one of the final Eastern Conference playoff spots, while they remain unsure of whether they are going to build around Butler or look to the future.


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  • Wow. The Bulls got Joffrey Lauvergne and it only cost them Taj & McDermott?

    It's just so hopeless. This trade doesn't make them better in the present or in the future. Payne is a hybrid of Swaggy P and Marquis Teague. He's a poor shooting, low basketball IQ dancing clown. Morrow is an over the hill vet. Lauvergne is French.

    McDermott has been a huge disappointment. But his trade value was higher than this. And GarPax traded Taj at the absolute lowest point of his trade value. And why the hell did they have to include a 2nd round pick in a deal where you were already getting fleeced? The Bulls would have been better off simply doing nothing.

    What about Mirotic? Couldn't the Bulls have got a 2nd round pick for him? Why not try to deal one of the other four point guards on the team if you're trading for Payne? And good luck giving extended minutes to Portis and Valentine, 2 more below average athletes.

    Everything the Bulls do is so half-assed. This wasn't a we're going for it deal or a we are going to tank deal. The thought that they can rebuild on the fly is unproven and fruiltess.

    As been stated by most, this team is going nowhere while owned by the Reisndorfs and run by GarPax. It will take years of lower attendance and TV ratings for these morons to do anything resembling a real NBA franchise.

    In the mean time we can only hope this awful trade knocks them out of the playoffs and that Sacramento without Cousins continues to win as they did last night. The Bulls may end up with 2 lottery picks despite themselves.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    I agree fully the trade made zero sense. We already have similar PGs on the roster in MCW and Jarien Grant who are athletic with no shooting ability. Why overpay so dramatically to get Cameron Payne??? This is purely a move for the sole purpose of making a move. Hey look at us we are doing something! Idiots.

    You know your front office is being mislead when after a trade they have to come out aggressively stating that they actually have a plan... These clowns have completely ruined Bulls basketball for me.

  • To me the saddest aspect of the trade is how readily the blogs and most News sources and blog posters have bought the Bulls narrative on the purported key component, Cameron Payne? The false narrative begins with the story that 'Cam' had a single foot surgery in 2016.

    In point of fact Cam had (2) serious right foot fractures less than 2 months apart, in 2016. It's easily discovered on the internet.

    Why Gar/Pax have maintained the one foot problem story is perhaps attributable to OKC claiming the 'surgeries' were 'unrelated'? But you be the judge.

    The first surgery, in late July 2016, was a 'Jones fracture' involving the fifth metatarsal bone in the right foot. Surgery 1 was required, and was preceded by a second half of the 2015-2016 season where 'Cam' had a lot of pain in his foot and OKC opted to try a walking boot first, before opting for the 1st surgery in the last week of July 2016.

    Then, in the last week of September 2016, during the first week of 'training camp' Cam suffered an 'acute fracture' of the fifth metatarsal bone in the 'same' right foot again? This time it was NOT identified as a 'Jones Fracture'. He underwent another surgery and did not return to NBA basketball until January 3rd 2017.

    NBA Basketball players place a high reliance on their feet, PG's probably a lot more than most players...two serious fractures in the same right foot in a very short period of time would, I think, be concerning to a player, his team, and any interested third parties. To me it is a situation that bears close scrutiny going forward before any accurate assessment of the OKC trade can be made somewhere down the line.

    Fans of Kevin Durant should be familiar with 'Jones Fracture' type foot fracture injuries and his lengthy time lost in the 2015 season as a result. The (2) surgeries in OKC which eventually led Durant and the team, to seek more surgical expertise from New York specialist at a New York City Hospital where he had a eventual bone graft in his foot. Now he plays for the Golden State Warriors.

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