In case you missed it, the Bulls made a trade at the deadline! They made a move that sent Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second round pick for Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow. It was certainly a head scratching trade as Chicago didn’t exactly get any good assets back in exchange for Gibson and McDermott, who will fit in well with Oklahoma City. Many weren’t happy with the Bulls decision to move McBuckets and Taj for scraps.
Payne's BPM this year is a -6.9! Morrow is a -4.8! Joffrey is a -3.1! THREE below replacement level players for your best big & other assets— Kevin ☭ Ferrigan (@NBAcouchside) February 23, 2017
The rest of the internet agreed as well when it came to trade grades for Chicago.
The Athletic Chicago:
Once again Stephen Noh has some great thoughts on this Bulls trade including some on Cameron Payne and the Bulls really liking his game but also points out his flaws as well.
The Bulls are high on Payne for whatever reason, and they’re probably in the minority in that assessment. But it’s not too late to give up on him. He’s only 22 years old and has played 1,018 minutes in his NBA career. He still has a lot of potential, and he’ll need to reach it to make this trade a win for the Bulls.
Putting aside whether Payne ever develops into a quality starter, the fit with Butler is concerning too. Payne is not a good shooter — he’s hit on only 32 percent of his 3-pointers, although he has shown a solid midrange jump shot. Additionally, Butler will have to keep on guarding the best wings on opposing teams because Payne is nowhere near a stopper on that end. Payne has a long 6-foot-7 wingspan and has shown a knack for getting steals, but he doesn’t have the build to be a great defender yet.
This was a more light-hearted take on the trade and most of it was due to the upside that Cameron Payne does bring. Which is also based on the fact that he is still on his rookie deal and is only 22 (he turns 23 in August).
Here is what they thought about it:
Chicago invested a good bit to draft McDermott. They have Payne for two more years on a cheap rookie deal now. If he pans out — I’m a fan -- this trade just might be work out. We’ll see!
Grade: Not good
Kelly Scaletta didn’t give a grade on this trade but he reiterated the same sentiment that everyone else was saying. The Bulls didn’t get any good return value even with the young players they got back (Payne and Lauvergne), which doesn’t help their future plans. Plus you have to factor in the fact that they had to give OKC a pick to complete the deal.
When you factor in the cost to get McDermott and what was involved in the Thunder trade, the Bulls gave up two first-round picks, four second-round picks and Taj Gibson for their fifth-best point guard, Morrow and Lauvergne (the latter two players are just guys).
This is not a winning formula.
Perhaps Bulls fans could feel more optimistic about acquiring younger players like Payne and Lauvergne if McDermott wasn’t the epitome of another problem Chicago has: They can’t develop their younger players for squat. None of their recent first-round draft picks have stood out, although maybe Bobby Portis finally steps up with Gibson out of the way.
Once again, the future of the Bulls is talked about here and it’s not in a good way:
The deal makes sense philosophically, but fails to move the needle for the Bulls, who surrender another struggling former lottery pick in McDermott and a future second-round draft asset. It’s flawed logic, but still worth pointing out that the team surrendered two first-rounders in the 2014 draft just to land the small forward, who’s had successful spurts (and shot 42% from three last season) but failed to make the immediate impact Chicago hoped from a dominant four-year college player. If anything, it again sheds light on the front office’s recent struggles on the scouting and draft fronts. Lauvergne is a decent rotational big man and Morrow a serviceable shooting specialist, and both will come off the books next season.
Save for Payne emerging as Chicago’s most promising long-term guard, the Bulls continue to tread water. Gibson, a beloved locker-room presence, is gone. Jimmy Butler, and to a lesser degree, Nikola Mirotic (who Chicago also tried to move) are the lone leftovers from the Thibs era. The Bulls’ onus now moves to the off-season, where they’ll again be faced with the possibility of a Butler trade come draft-time. For Chicago, this line of action puts the future on hold yet again.
Again, Payne’s development is the big question here :
Whether this trade made sense for the Bulls will be determined primarily by Payne's development. If he proves capable of starting at point guard, that's a fine return for an expiring contract and a reserve whose defensive limitations might prevent him from becoming anything more than that (McDermott). If Payne is nothing more than a backup, Chicago probably bought high.
There is an interesting tidbit about how good McDermott really is:
I doubt the Bulls will really miss McDermott despite their need for floor spacing. Because of his poor defense, he's rated below replacement level by ESPN's real plus-minus throughout his career. Still, I can't totally understand why it's Chicago that threw a second-round pick into this deal instead of the other way around.
Here is Matt Moore’s thoughts on what the future holds for Chicago:
Gibson has been underpaid and underappreciated for years. They could have received more in past years, but dealt him this season, along with a good young shooter, and a pick, for a backup point guard to whom they’ll have to commit big money after making the Rajon Rondo deal. This doesn’t help much short or long-term, and they failed to couple it with significant changes to kick-start a rebuild.
Blog A Bull’s grade:
My take: This was a bad move for the Bulls and a lot of the problems with trade have been stated by the various outlets above. There isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said. The Bulls got even worse after this trade by trading one of their best front court defenders in addition to one of the two guys who can shoot from the outside.
They acquired a point guard who needs to develop and prove he can be a starting point guard in this league. Acquiring Payne won’t help the spacing issues that the Bulls constantly have with Jimmy Butler. At least with Doug there was the threat of a three-point shot. Morrow and Lauvergne are on expiring deals so unless they prove some value in these last 25 games, they will leave in the summer. This trade doesn’t help for Chicago’s future plans because of the players they got back and the lack of value the ones they gave away.