Chicago Bulls trade rumors have mostly circled around Nikola Mirotic, but we can add a more unexpected player to the mix as they continue to do their due diligence this trading season. Per Chicago Tribune writer K.C. Johnson.
Nikola Mirotic isn’t the only Bull on the market. According to one executive in each conference, the Bulls have gauged interest on Jerian Grant.
Grant, acquired from the Knicks in the Derrick Rose trade, leads the Bulls in assist-to-turnover ratio but has shot just 29.9 percent from 3-point range. The organization likely wants to get a post-All-Star-break look at Cameron Payne, whose option was picked up for next season. And with LaVine also able to play backup point guard, Grant could be expendable.
As guys like Kris Dunn, Nikola Mirotic, and Lauri Markkanen rise, Grant has fallen and he has become kind of the forgotten man on this team. So far in January, Grant has posted 4.3 points per game on 26.2 percent from the field and has shot the ball at a 6.7 percent clip from behind the 3-point line.
That’s obviously bad timing for a slump, and on his own, Grant doesn’t have a ton of trade value. He doesn’t move the needle enough for a contending team looking for that last piece to solidify its roster for the stretch run. At the same time, rebuilding teams aren’t going to give up an asset to obtain him as a development project.
Maybe Grant’s inclusion into the trade talks is more of a sweetener in a trade package that includes Mirotic, or other veterans like Justin Holiday, or Robin Lopez.
Grant still has upside, and teams could view him as a valuable add-on in a trade as long as he’s not the focal point of the trade. He shot the ball 36.6 percent from 3-point land last season, and he shot the ball 44.3 percent and 47.4 percent from this range in November and December of this season respectively. He can run an offense, and although he isn’t a flashy playmaker he averages 7.8 assists per 36 minutes this season. There looks to be a place for him in the NBA as a solid, second-unit guard.
As KC Johnson indicates, if Grant leaves that would open up playing time for Cameron Payne. However in three years in the NBA, Payne hasn’t earned much of a shot: he’s sustained two major right foot surgeries, averaged 5.0 points per game on 37.8 percent from the field, averaged just a few more assists (1.4) than turnovers (1.2), and has mostly been a miserable defender. The Bulls will need to see a ton of improvement from Payne to make amends for cascade of moves starting in the Doug McDermott draft, and perhaps a move of Grant forces that issue.