Chicago Bulls Trade Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott: What Bulls are getting and giving up in deal

Feb 3, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) dribbles the ball as Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) defends during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 3, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) dribbles the ball as Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson (3) defends during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bulls traded Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow and Joffery Lauvergne in the final hour before the NBA Trade Deadline. Chicago will also send a 2018 second-round pick in the deal. Here’s a breakdown of the trade.

The trade deadline has passed and the Chicago Bulls have made a deal.

After days of everyone stalking Twitter waiting for the potential blockbuster deal of sending Jimmy Butler to the Boston Celtics, Chicago has made a deal that’s minor in comparison to that.

Shams Charania of The Vertical first reported the trade.

The deal sends Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to the Oklahoma City Thunder, while the Bulls will receive Cameron Payne back along with Anthony Morrow and Joffrey Lauvergne to match salaries. The Bulls also gave a 2018 second-round pick to OKC.

What the Bulls gave up:

The front office finally punts on McDermott, who they traded two first-round picks for in 2014. McDermott has struggled in just about every facet of the game this year, including shooting, which is supposed to be his strength. McDermott is shooting 37 percent from 3-point range this year.

And, since he is awful on defense and doesn’t really add anything else, he’s been disappointing. That shooting mark isn’t good enough if it’s the only thing he brings. It’s logical for the Bulls to move on from him.

The fact that the Bulls sent a second-round pick in this deal amazes me. The pick isn’t till 2018, though it’s tough to argue it’s worth it in this deal. The front office continues to make questionable decisions that free agents notice; the large market isn’t enough anymore to attract free agents. Picks are going to become increasingly crucial to the Bulls youth movement, and Chicago just handed one away.

A bogus move from the front office shows little to no back bone at all. The Thunder got the best player in this trade, and even if he’s a rental, why would the Bulls have to attach a pick?

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What the Bulls get back:

The main return back for the Bulls in this trade is second-year point guard Cameron Payne. Playing as the backup to Russell Westbrook, Payne has proven close to nothing as a guard in his second year. He came into the league being seen as a shooter with the ability to play make, theoretically filling one of the biggest holes on the Bulls roster.

The only problem is he hasn’t been able to do either of these things. A 31 percent career 3-point shooter isn’t going to get it done for the Bulls at the point guard spot. The Bulls need a guard who can reliably knock down a shot after Jimmy Butler breaks down the defense and there is really no reason to believe Payne will be able to do that. The small amount of light that sheds on the Bulls for this deal is that Payne is only 22, it’s possibly he figures it out with an extended role and is a good fit next to Butler.

The Thunder are adding Taj Gibson. He and Steven Adams are going to be a fron tcourt no offense will want to deal with in the playoffs. I like the fit for the Thunder, though finally letting go of Taj breaks my heart. He was the final member of the 2011 team that made the Eastern Conference Finals. Taj is the player that’s impossible not to love.

No matter the situation, Gibson has proven to be one of the hardest working players the Bulls have seen in years. Loyal to his teammates and fans, he is the type of teammate every NBA player should strive to be. We will all miss his stout defense and thunder dunks (didn’t notice the pun till after I wrote it I swear).

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Go get that money this summer, Taj. Removing emotion from this, it makes sense to move him, as he becomes a free agent this summer. 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.


The success of this deal is going to hinge on Payne’s development going forward. While he hasn’t shown anything yet, maybe a change of scenery and an opportunity to start will bring the best out of the 22-year-old. Moving on from Taj makes sense, though one would think they could have gotten more value for him and McDermott, let alone giving up a pick to make the deal happen almost makes the deal hard to stomach.

The front office must really be high on Payne, and if their recent point guard moves are any indication of their ability to evaluate backcourt talent we should all be very worried.

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Though no matter how this deal shakes up, we all can assume Gar Forman and John Paxson jobs are safe.