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Bulls trade Doug McDermott and Taj Gibson to Thunder

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Bulls to acquire Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow, and Joffrey Lauvergne

NBA: Chicago Bulls at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As reported by Shams Charania of the Vertical, the Bulls have made a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. A deal that sends Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson and a 2018 second round pick for Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow.

The Bulls had telegraphed their interest in McDermott before the 2014 draft, needing to use 5 picks (2 first rounders, and 3 seconds) to move up on draft night to get him. Doug has battled injuries in his short Bulls career, from a torn meniscus his rookie season to multiple concussions this year.

And though Doug upped his shooting stroke to be a solid from long range after his rookie year, it remained the only positive to his game. He was a solid floor-spacer in lineups with Jimmy Butler, but couldn’t be trusted to generate his own offense in non-Butler units, and his defense suffered not only due to a lack of lateral movement but a seemingly-nonexistent court awareness. That the Bulls fired Tom Thibodeau in part to bring in a coach specifically suitable to nurture McDermott and he was still not improving is an indictment on both the player and the team.

Taj Gibson is the longest tenured Chicago Bull, earning a starting job in 2009 and appearing in 562 games, 10th all-time for the franchise. This was the final year of a contract extension he signed in 2012 (kicking in the following year), when he famously took a discount for long-term security with the team that drafted him. It was likely he wasn’t going to do so again for the Bulls sake, and at 31 years old rightfully realizing this is his last chance at a huge free agent contract. At the least this wasn’t a repeat of last trade deadline where Pau Gasol was held on for a failed playoff run and then walked in free agency.

As for the return: Cameron Payne is a point guard, and he’s 22 years old and still under his rookie contract, but the positives kind of end there. Keeping with Bulls tradition he can’t shoot from three, currently at 30% this season. He also battled a foot injury to start this season. The Bulls also acquired two rotation players in Anthony Morrow and Joffrey Lauvergne.

Morrow gives the Bulls what they need in three-point shooting as he averages a career 3P% of 41.7. But he has struggled this season, shooting just 29.4% and averaging 5.8 points per game. Other than shooting, Morrow doesn’t offer much in the other facets of the game. But he fills the void of being a three-point option, which Chicago needs to space the floor.

Lauvergne is a big man from France in his third year since coming over to the association. Only averaging 15 minutes per game, Lauvergne is averaging 5.7 points per game but does have an eFG% of 51.0.

Chicago also is sending a 2018 second round pick to OKC to make the deal complete.

This looks like a move for tanking but we never know with the Bulls.