The Bulls made a trade! In a one-for-one swap, the Bulls are acquiring point guard Michael Carter-Williams and sending out Tony Snell to Milwaukee.
Very interesting timing, as the two teams played eachother Saturday night (and the city of Chicago mostly ignored it due to other sports happenings), though neither MCW nor Snell played. The trade is reportedly going to be official Monday when the league office opens.
At very similar status in the league, MCW and Snell are both 2013 draft picks who are due to hit restricted free agency at the end of the season. MCW just turned 25 earlier this week, and is a month older than Snell. Though Carter-Williams won the rookie of the year after the 2013-14 season, both players are clear disappointments and this is meant to be a change of scenery for both.
So it’s really about fit and position. For the Bucks, it’s sign of desperation to fill the hole left by Khris Middleton’s injury in their wing corps. Earlier this month they did a similar deal in acquiring Michael Beasley, and now they have Snell. He’ll at least have more playing time in Milwaukee, as his failure to assert himself in the Bulls rotation likely had him behind a litany of other options for Hoiberg, including their most recent first round pick Denzel Valentine.
So I’d say taking advantage of that desperation to get a rotation player of any kind for Snell is a pretty good trade on the Bulls part.
MCW fits this team...in that he plays right into their existing flaws, namely an inability to shoot from distance. He’s a career 25.5% three-point shooter, on just over 2 attempts per game.
But he has his good qualities. He can defend and rebound very well at the guard position, and this preseason has shown that the Bulls needed help at the PG spot as well as a generic need for any plus defenders. Now in Carter-Williams they have someone who can serve as a backup to Rajon Rondo, but also play some at the shooting guard role while taking on the opponent’s best penetrator.
As for Tony Snell, it’s a rare admission of failure by the Bulls in a draft pick of theirs. But despite the nonsensical +/- productivity, and the two or three times a year Snell would hit 4 threes and Stacey King would yell about Tony’s added confidence propelling him to a starting role, Snell just never cemented himself as an NBA player. You’ll read a lot how about it was ‘mental’ with him (I think even that was less confidence and more poor court awareness), but the talent was also lacking. A lack of physical strength kept him from being a good enough individual player and also limited his ability to hit any other shot but a wide-open three or a space jam-esque dunk attempt.
He also simply faced a roster crunch. Doug McDermott is the primary backup (and needs to play over Snell given his shooting), and the aforementioned Valentine should take over a backup SG role with better playmaking ability, something the newly-acquired MCW should exceed Snell in as well. So getting anything for Snell in his final contractual year can be seen as a plus, even if Carter-Williams means one more awful shooter whereas Snell was merely average.