By: Billy Finn
As the trade deadline has just passed, there have been many moves that have made both contending teams better, and rebuilding teams worse. Of course NBA fans are aware about the Demarcus Cousins to New Orleans trade, and Lou Williams to Houston, but as a Bulls fan, I have to talk about the trade we (the Bulls) made on Thursday.
Thursday for most of us Bulls fans can be seen as an absolutely horrible day in our franchise’s history, for numerous reasons. But before I get into the reasons as to why Thursday was such tough day to be a Bulls fan, let me first tell you about the trade itself.
The Bulls decided to trade Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson and a 2nd round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow. Now, on paper this looks like a bad trade for the Bulls, and a great trade for the Thunder, but let me tell you as to why this is not a bad trade, but an absolutely awful trade.
First, the best player between both teams is the Bulls’ Taj Gibson. Taj is a very solid role player for the Bulls who has always played very hard, with a lot passion and competes at a high level every night. This combined with fairly solid play, made Taj a fan favorite in Chicago. Chicago fans are some of, if not the most, loyal fans in the entire country. We grow very close to the players, and vice versa. If you do not believe me, just look at Taj Gibson’s latest Instagram post. Gar Forman (General Manager) and John Paxson (Vice President of Basketball Operations) irritated many passionate fans with this move, because it was almost like ripping the soul out of the team.
The second reason why this trade was an atrocity was because of how much we gave up to get Doug McDermott when he was drafted by the Denver Nuggets back in 2014. We gave up Gary Harris and Nikola Jokic for McDermott, two players who are both arguably better than Doug. We gave up a player who is a starting caliber shooting guard in the NBA (Gary Harris) for what is now, Anthony Morrow or Joffrey Lauvergne, take your pick.
The third, and probably most important reason this is a horrible trade is what we got in return. The centerpiece of the trade is Cameron Payne. If there is one bright spot in this trade, it would be him. He is young and has been playing behind a superstar (Russell Westbrook) his whole career. He is only 22 and has much time to grow as a player, but from what I personally have seen so far in his career, he is nothing special. He is 90th in the NBA in terms of PER for just point guards! His per game stats are hard to base his talent off of due to his limited playing time. Hopefully, in time, Payne can prove myself, and numerous Bulls fans wrong and emerge into the star the Bulls front office thinks he is. But, for now we got slaughtered in this trade. Oh, did I mention the Bulls front office actually thought that they won this trade because they threw in a free second round pick? Yikes.
I really do hope that Cameron Payne can become a good player for the Bulls, and hopefully we can trade for more picks because we really do need to rebuild. I also really hope we get rid of guys like Rajon Rondo, who should for no reason be in a Bulls uniform, and Dwyane Wade who is just too old at this point. I could get into the mind boggling signings the Bulls have made, but that’s a different column for a different day.