The Chicago Bulls have made their first trade of season, trading former 16-overall pick James Johnson to the Toronto Raptors, who the Bulls play on Wednesday night, for a first-round pick, per Ric Bucher of ESPN, and also confirmed by the Bulls' official press release.
The pick is the Miami Heat's first-round selection this year, which is owned by the Raptors.
"It [stinks]," Bulls center Joakim Noah said. "I consider J.J. a little
brother. But he wasn't playing a lot, and I wish him nothing but the
best. And I hope that he gets an opportunity to get out there on the
court and show what kind of player he is."
This is the first trade of the season for the Bulls, but they're likely to make another move. They acquired Miami's first-round pick for this year, but that pick won't be very good -- in the late 20's -- so it's quite possible the Bulls will eventually flip the pick in a trade coming in the next couple days.
The Bulls selected Johnson with the 16th pick in the 2009 NBA draft, and he's played sporadically, but has had his share of moments.
What went wrong with Johnson? Johnson hasn't played much this season because coach Tom Thibodeau simply doesn't trust him. Johnson has good size and is a premiere athlete, but as his career 30% three-point percentage shows, he can't shoot well, and has mental lapses on the court.
He's played in 13 games for the Bulls this season, and hasn't been given much of a look. Thibodeau gave him a shot during the preseason, but he didn't make his case to be in the rotation, and has been buried on the bench ever since.
Johnson has the skills and size to be a good player in the NBA, but until he gets his act together mentally, and works hard on his game in the offseason -- rather than his various hair styles -- he will continue to be a disappointment.
The Bulls received Miami's first-round pick for Johnson, but will they keep it?
Flipped pick: The Bulls, who have been rumored to be interested in upgrading at the shooting guard position, could use this first-round pick they got from the Raptors for a future trade.
With Johnson off the books, the Bulls have nearly $3 million available, and also have multiple picks to trade. As a contending team, it could totally be possible that the Bulls are looking to deal picks for a player like Courtney Lee, Anthony Parker, or Arron Afflalo.
What ever the case, don't expect the Bulls to hold onto this first-round pick received from Toronto; the Bulls will likely flip it in a deal coming up in the next couple days.
Final thoughts: The Bulls will play the Raptors tomorrow night, which makes the situation even more interesting. The chances Johnson plays tomorrow are slim, but the Raptors could play him as soon as they can and give him the time he needs to get facilitated with his new teammates.
Johnson, by all accounts, was a nice man. Analysts say he was polite and knew his place. He was a good guy, and hopefully he experiences some type of success in Toronto. He's too skilled not to.