Chicago Bulls: Grading every personnel move of 2018-2019

Chicago Bulls (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chicago Bulls (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /
8 of 11
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Traded Jerian Grant to Orlando in Three-Team Deal (Orlando, Charlotte) in Exchange for Julyan Stone

This deal made the least sense of any that the Bulls made from April of 2018 to April of 2019. This deal involved Orlando and Charlotte swapping Timofey Mozgov and Bismack Biyombo, while the Bulls served a middleman role. This trade signified that the front office had chosen Cameron Payne over Jerian Grant.

Even if the team felt this way, moving on from the former first-round pick in exchange for a player in Julyan Stone with a non-guaranteed contract to be waived is absurd. A rebuilding team should not trade a young guard of his caliber in the first place, nor should it be making moves to free up cap space in exchange for a young player. Sure, Grant was not going to be a starting point guard in Chicago, however, the team got literally no value for him.

Grade: D-

Traded Justin Holiday to Memphis in Exchange for Wayne Selden Jr., MarShon Brooks, Memphis’ 2019 Second-Round Pick, Memphis’ 2020 Second-Round Pick

Chicago fans had been calling for the trade of Justin Holiday from the moment the 2018-2019 season began. The 29-year-old was playing nearly 35 minutes per game and taking over 10 shots per contest, which he converted on at a very inefficient 38.3% rate. Holiday was barring the development of long-term players, such as Chandler Hutchison, with his immense amount of minutes and plethora of shots taken.

The players involved, Wayne Selden and MarShon Brooks, were thought of as merely salary-equalizers. Selden has proved to be a nice find for the Bulls, as he averaged eight points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in just shy of 23 minutes per outing. His defense and improved shooting will make him a piece to keep around on the bench in the future.

The two second-round picks were what the Bulls truly wanted out of the deal, and even these turned out better than expected, as the team plummeted from a playoff position into the bottom-10 in the league. Memphis is surely not to improve next season either, so the Bulls could come away with two early second-round selections. Summarized, the Bulls made out like bandits here.

Grade: A

Traded 2020 Protected Second-Round Pick (Bulls) to Houston in Exchange for Michael Carter-Williams, Cash Considerations

This trade made a lot of Bulls fans very angry, as they wondered why the rebuilding organization would trade a draft pick for a player to be waived and cash. Trades for cash consideration, such as the infamous Jordan Bell move, have left bad tastes in the mouths of Bulls fans. However, this disapproval is part of what creates the negative stigma around GarPax. Yes, the Bell Trade was awful. However, the move with Houston this season involved a pick so protected that it is extremely unlikely to be conveyed. The move was purely to create a roster spot for Houston, and Chicago used their extra cap and roster room to earn a couple of bucks. Thus, the Bulls were not hurt or helped very much by this move.

Grade: C

Traded Draft Rights to Tadija Dragicevic to Houston in Exchange for Carmelo Anthony, Draft Rights to Jon Diebler, Cash Considerations

In the final chapter of the Carmelo Anthony fiasco, he was shipped to Chicago to clear a roster spot for the Rockets. The whole situation with regards to Anthony is atrocious, as there is no reason he should not be on some NBA roster. However, his dilemmas as a player have nothing to do with the point of this article. This deal, like the one made with Houston just over two weeks earlier, was purely for financial reasons for the Bulls.

Most basketball fans have no idea who Tadija Dragicevic or Jon Diebler are. In short, Dragicevic is a 33-year-old former second-round pick of Utah whose rights were dealt to Chicago in the Greg Smith (another individual who never played a game as a Bull) trade in 2014. The Serbian has never appeared in an NBA game. Diebler is a 30-year-old former second-round pick out of Ohio State, selected by Portland. Dealt to Houston in 2012, Diebler has also never appeared in an NBA game.

Again, the Bulls do not benefit nor really gain a lot in this move. The front office enjoyed their cash this season and managed to do so here at absolutely no risk.

Grade: C+

Traded 2020 Protected Second-Round Pick to Oklahoma City in Exchange for Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Cash Considerations

Of the three moves Chicago made for cash considerations, this was the most beneficial. In this deal, Oklahoma City saved $7.3 million in luxury tax expenses, while also opening a roster spot. For the Bulls, the team received more cash and an intriguing player in Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot for yet another second-round selection which will more than likely not convey.

TLC was a first-round selection by Philadelphia in 2014 and was moved to Oklahoma City as part of the three-team Carmelo Anthony deal to Atlanta. Still on a rookie-scale deal and only 23 years old, the Bulls decided to keep him on board and see if he could live up to his first-round potential. Unfortunately, this did not happen. He averaged a career-high 6.8 points per game but shot a very poor 39.4% from the floor.

The TLC experiment was a great idea, and looking back, the Bulls would certainly still give it a try. However, the true prize here was the cash. Luwawu-Cabarrot was a low risk, high reward player, but things just didn’t work out. Expect Chicago to opt out of his rookie deal next year. Earlier in the article, I stated how rare it is for this to happen to first-round picks, but TLC is just not fit for Chicago nor the modern NBA.

Grade: B-

Traded Jabari Parker, Bobby Portis, 2023 Second-Round Pick (Top 36 Protected) in Exchange for Otto Porter Jr.

This trade was by far the biggest one made in the 2018-2019 season/offseason. The initial question that crossed the mind of Bulls fans was the rationale for bringing Otto Porter and his massive contract to Chicago. The former 3rd overall pick is set to make $27 million in 2019-2020 and has a player option for 2020-2021 worth $28 million.

Porter is worth nowhere close to what he is set to be paid for the next two seasons. However, the Bulls are not a desirable destination for max-contract-worthy players, making the money spent on Porter nearly irrelevant. The team will still have around $19 million to spend this summer, which may be more than they intend on spending. Thus, Otto Porter is the Bulls’ “free agent signing,” if you will. Porter is still just 25 years old and had a phenomenal second half of the season in Chicago, averaging 17.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.2 steals on 48.3% shooting from the field and 48.8% from deep. His paychecks should not define him as a player.

As far as the price Chicago had to pay for Porter, let’s start by looking at Jabari Parker. Parker was clearly not a mutual fit in Chicago, as evident in his benching for much of his time as a Bull. It was known that his contract would be very difficult to move, if possible at all. Despite the feel-good story of his homecoming, things simply did not go to plan. The low risk, high reward Simeon product was a failure – and that’s okay.

It hurt to let go of Bobby Portis much more than it hurt to see Jabari walk away. Portis was a phenomenal young player as a Bull who could have been a very good sixth man going forward. The Bulls did express interest in re-signing Portis, who becomes a restricted free agent this summer, however, it is rumored that Portis is looking to make $16 million, which is much too steep of a price to pay for him. It appears GarPax got the best of Washington in this trade, although it is still early in Porter’s tenure in Chicago.

Grade: B+

Home/Bulls Draft