Chicago Bulls trade Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott for Thunder's Payne, Morrow
Feb 25 2017 by Kelly Saunders
The Thundersent promising guard Cameron Payne, the struggling sniper from the 3 point line, Anthony Morrow and the versatile forward from France, Joffrey Lauvergne to the Chicago Bulls. The eighth-year pro carries an $8.95 million cap hit for 2016-17 and will become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, per Spotrac.
Paxson said he spoke to Butler on Thursday about the decisions that had been made. McDermott, the No. 11 pick in the 2014 draft and favorite of Bulls general manager Gar Forman, will attempt to resurrect a basketball career that has been dormant thus far in three seasons.
This looks like a move for tanking but we never know with the Bulls. Danny Ainge talked trade with the Bulls about Butler and with IN about Paul George, but IN the end he wasn't willing to give up those precious Brooklyn first-round draft picks he's been hoarding for years.
If you think I am referring to the direction of the Bulls, well not really. Lauvergne is essentially another Nikola Mirotic - a big who doesn't use his size in the paint and ventures out to the perimeter instead. Without the addition of any key players or decent players for that matter, expect the Bulls to miss the playoffs while they question whether or not they want to win or rebuild.
Payne - averaging 5.3 points, 2.0 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 20 games this season - opened this year on injured reserve after breaking his fifth metatarsal in his left foot during a team scrimmage. He averaged 10.2 points per game for the Bulls this season.
The one contending team that didn't make a move at the deadline is Boston.
Oklahoma City did have to give up Payne, who was once a prized prospect after they drafted him in 2015, but with Westbrook carrying such a heavy minutes load they should be just fine.
The 22-year-old Noel was the sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft.
While many fans were likely expecting a Jimmy Butler deal to go down, the trade deadline came and went and Butler is still going to be rocking a Bulls jersey.
As the Thunder push forward around Russell Westbrook, they're sending the right signals about their mindset as a franchise, even in a competitive West. It wouldn't make sense for the Bulls to pay the aging power forward what he's going to be offered this summer, so it was good to get at least something back for him. He's scored in double figures eight times with a season high of 17 points on February 13 at Washington, which tied Russell Westbrook for the Thunder high in that game.