The Bulls' Trade Deadline: A Round Table Discussion

The Bulls' Trade Deadline: A Round Table Discussion
Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune From left, new Bulls players Joffrey Lauvergne, Anthony Morrow and Cameron Payne sit together on the bench during the game against the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 24, 2017, at the United Center.

What is your overall takeaway from this year’s trade deadline?

Hunter- Disappointment. All throughout this season, I was optimistic that Chicago could get at least a late first in a Taj Gibson trade, but as the deadline inched closer we watched destination after destination trade for someone else. Toronto got Serge Ibaka. The Mavericks got Nerlens Noel. The Blazers got Jusuf Nurkic. The Nuggets got Roy Hibbert (just kidding).

I became more and more afraid that Taj would be leaving for nothing in the offseason, but GarPax made sure to quell my fears...by trading him, Doug McDermott, and a pick away for a 31 year old shooter who can’t shoot anymore, a French guy who isn’t Rudy Gobert, and yet another score-first point guard that can’t score.

Sure, maybe I’m looking at this trade pretty cynically, but do you blame me? I know that Cameron Payne and Joffrey Lauvergne have potential to grow into respectable NBA players. However, I don’t think their potential is on some higher tier than the potential of the guys already on the roster, so I would much rather have draft picks. We’ll miss you Taj.

Mike- Frustration. I’m more than okay with the decision not to trade Jimmy Butler. He’s young enough and good enough that they didn’t need to trade him barring some kind of crazy godfather offer that may or may not have ever came. But the deal with Oklahoma City is just baffling. Moving Taj Gibson while you could still get something for him before he walked in the offseason made sense. But I’m barely sure that the deal they got even constitutes the team getting anything in return. And that was with including Doug McDermott and the second rounder in the trade.

Anthony Morrow and Joffrey Lauvergne do nothing to move the needle in either the short or long term. The centerpiece of the deal, Cameron Payne, is yet another point guard who doesn’t space the floor alongside Butler on a team with a glut of those types of players already. Payne had some potential coming into the 2015 draft, and while it’s too early to completely write him off, he hasn’t flashed a ton of that thus far in his career, and even in a best-case scenario is likely no more than a serviceable starter, and even that is unlikely. The Bulls gave up both of the two most valuable players in the deal, and had to add a pick for good measure, to get guys who don’t do much for the team now or in the future. It was baffling.

Daniel- Aggravated. If you look at what Sacremento gave away DeMarcus Cousins for, the Thunder stole McDermott and Gibson away. The Bulls traded away 5 draft picks to get Doug McDermott, and had to give away a 2018 second round pick just to get rid of him. Lauvergne and Morrow probably won’t even crack the rotation, and Payne fits in with the other 4 PGs on the roster who do not shoot well from deep. Taj Gibson was likely gone at the end of the year, so I understand moving him--however this McDermott should not have been included in this deal. Taj Gibson is not an All-Star, but he is a darn good player who gives 100% at all times. I envisioned a much better deal for Gibson at the deadline. Gar Forman and John Paxson again seem to not know what lane they would like to be in. As a devoted fan, it is beyond frustrating.

How much confidence do you have in the front office moving forward?

Hunter- It really depends on what I’m asking them to do. If we’re discussing restaurants to check out in Ames, IA or if I’m asking for advice on how to convince my boss to let me keep my job even though I’m terrible at it, then I have supreme confidence in Gar and Pax. I’m very confident in Gar’s ability to tie a necktie, and I think that if I ask Pax the best way to trim my goatee, I’m confident that I’ll receive a knowledgeable answer. If, however, this is about guiding to Bulls to sustained success on the court, then the answer is very, very little.

Mike- Zero. I probably didn’t have any before the deadline either, but if there was any confidence hanging around somewhere it’s definitely gone now. Failing to get even a second round pick, let alone a first, in return for Gibson was bad enough. But the team still doesn’t seem to recognize how valuable Butler truly is, and seems likely to move on from him in the offseason regardless of how good of an offer they get. But hey, the team’s going to be profitable again.

Daniel- None. They simply do not know what they would like to do. In an interview on ESPN 1000, Waddle and Silvy went after Gar Forman as he stated they want to get younger, and get draft picks but also stay relevant. Gar expressed that they could have signed players in the off season to allow them to win more now, but that would mess up their future plans. So they are what, half-tanking? It makes ZERO sense to stay in the middle. The Philadelphia 76ers have had some tough years, however I think just about any fan would rather be in their situation now with lots of young assets rather than be in the Bulls shoes.

What are your expectations for Payne, Morrow, and Lauvergne?

Hunter- Morrow seemed to only be in the deal to match salary, and I’d be shocked if he gets more than meaningless garbage time minutes for the rest of the year. He’s shot less than 30 percent from deep this season and that’s really been his only skill for a few years now. The only thing that would change this prediction is if the change of scenery somehow fixed Morrow’s jumper and he started draining 3s again. Even then, however, I’d rather give the minutes to future HOFer Paul Zipser.

Joffrey Lauvergne seems like an alright backup big man to have, but, like Morrow, I don’t want him playing in front of the backups that the Bulls already have. His rebound percentage this season is 14.3 percent, a figure bested by both Cristiano Felicio and Bobby Portis. He can maybe space the floor, which for Bulls standards means he’s basically Steph Curry. Bottom line, our son Felicio needs his minutes, and Joffrey better steer clear of them.

Cameron Payne is a nice player. That said, if he is the Bulls point guard of the future, then the Bulls are destined to have a bottom 10 starting point guard for a long time. Payne doesn’t seem to be a facilitator. He posted 5.6 assists per 36 minutes in his rookie season, and this year that number is down to 4.4. That’s fine though. The Bulls should ideally have Jimmy Butler handling the ball most of the time, and the point guard should be spotting up off the ball. The problem is that Payne, like every other Bulls point guard, can’t shoot.

Mike- Morrow: He will be on the roster. He will likely appear in some games, and attempt a few three pointers in those games. It is unlikely that they go in at an efficient rate.

Lauvergne: He will be big, but likely struggle to find consistent minutes in the Bulls crowded front-court with Nikola Mirotic, Robin Lopez, Bobby Portis, and Cristiano Felicio all likely to take the bulk of the minutes.

Payne: If the way the season has gone so far this season is any indication, he will go from getting solid bench minutes, to starting, to completely out of the rotation for no discernable reason. I do think he has slightly more potential than both Michael Carter-Williams and Jerian Grant, so ideally he at least gets a consistent look, but it’s really hard to tell what his role will be.

Daniel- Payne: This year I do not much expectation from me from Cameron. With only 24 games left, Payne may not see the minutes that Bulls fans would like with this “guard-heavy” roster. Payne played 12 minutes vs the Cavaliers on Saturday night, and seemed to be just a catch and shoot player as Butler continued to ball handling responsibilities. I will have high expectations for Payne next season when Rajon Rondo and Michael Carter-Williams are no longer on the roster.

Morrow: Well, he has not appeared in either of the games that he has been available for the Bulls. The veteran is a good shooter, however he is struggling this season and likely won’t find his way into the rotation unless injuries occur. Morrow will be even more buried on the bench when rookie Paul Zipser returns. A FA at the end of the season, I don’t envision this to be a long term stay for Morrow, however if he gets some playing time, he can help space the floor for Butler and Wade who are not known as 3-point shooters.


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  • But so long as GarPax can arrange that LeBron and K Love are out, they can't lose, according to the ESPN on ABC commentators, who, for some strange reason have another Bulls prime time game next week. Comparatively speaking, the Hoi ball offense looked pretty good with Payne.

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    Sad to see Taj finally go, but it was the right time. Not to get anything in return for Taj as he bolts to a playoff contender this summer would've been the wrong thing to do.
    I was hoping the Bulls could've made a deal with the Sixers for Nerlens Noel, but the Sixers probably knew Taj wouldn't resign with them. Maybe Cameron Payne and Joffrey Lauvergne turn out to become really good NBA players, or maybe they continue as journeymen backups, but the writing is on the wall in which way Gar and Pax intend to rebuild around Jimmy's leadership, Wade's tutelage and see how their recent draft picks perform. Hopefully, they provide speed, energy and floor spacing. Hopefully, they develop a defensive mindset time will tell.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    " Not to get anything in return for Taj as he bolts to a playoff contender this summer would've been the wrong thing to do." They got nothing for him now.

  • This was a great piece guys! If Gar and Pax were to offer seminars on how to not get fired even though you are absolute trash at your job I would be one of the first to sign up. In that they are world class.

    We have been rudderless for quite a while sort of going for it but not really. I guess that doesn't anger me as much as the fact that they also seem to have no f***ing clue on how to build a roster. Rose and Butler were a bad pairing I understood getting rid of Derrick wasn't a fan of the return but understood the move. What I don't understand is how they some how have come to the conclusion that having a whole bunch of shitty versions of Rose is a good idea... Even if by some miracle one develops best case scenario we are back in the Rose/Butler mess again.

    Just not sure I can take anymore of Dumb and Dumber "leading" this team. I barely watch their games this year.

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