February 23, 2017
Oklahoma City Thunder Receive: Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson, Bulls’ 2018 second round pick
Chicago Bulls Receive: Joffrey Auvergne, Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow
Russell Westbrook needs all the help he can get. He is like the energizer bunny but he can only do so much. In this trade, he lost his dancing partner and backup point guard Cameron Payne. Taj Gibson has always been a solid player and in some years has been considered a Sixth Man of the Year contender. He should help fill the gap the Enes Kanter has left while recovering from injury. He could also start along side Steven Adams. He is more experienced and a better player right now than current power forward starter Domantas Sabonis. Gibson just doesn’t have the same type of range, but everything else he does better. He has been a consistent player for years and will help the Thunder come playoff time. Playing Gibson and Steven Adams together will give the Thunder a strong interior presence that should improve their defensive rebounding which will in turn get Westbrook some more fast breaks. Gibson will be a free agent after the season. Doug McDermott gives one of the worst three point shooting teams in the league a good, but not great three point shooter. With so much of other teams’ defense focusing on Westbrook, McDermott has a chance to get better looks than any other point his career. McDermott has never been given a real chance to succeed and if he can improve his shooting a little bit, he can have a Korver-type impact. McDermott is more of a natural scorer than just a shooter so if this situation works out, he can end up being better than Korver. He is still only 25. The Thunder now have a nice collection of guards and small forwards, but they have no elite sidekick for Westbrook come playoff time. Behind Victor Oladipo, they have a collection of players were varying skillsets, but all pretty average players. This is nice for depth during a long regular season, but come playoff time when rotations shrink, it will not do as much. A trade for Danilo Gallinari or Wilson Chandler would have had more benefits come playoff time. If anything the one player who needs a break during the regular season, Westbrook just had his backup traded away.
Lauvergne has only been playing 14.8 minute per game for the Thunder, averaging 5.7 points per game. He is shooting close to 35% from three. The Bulls might be planning on Mirotic leaving this offseason and Lauvergne taking his place. The trade of McDermott also signifies that the team was not ready to make a long-term commitment to him. The big return for the Bulls in this trade is Cameron Payne. Payne was the 14th pick in the 2015 draft. Playing behind Russell Westbrook has not giving Payne much of a chance to show what he can do, but the Bulls currently have one of the worst point guard situations in the league so having playing time for the first time in his career could unleash some of his potential. The acquisition of these two players, along with the departure of two of the longest tenured Bulls and significant parts of the rotation, shows a rebuild. Jimmy Butler and Dwayne Wade cannot be too happy about this. Wade has send that he is not trying to be on a rebuilding team, and after the trade rumors, Butler was ready to pack his bags. The trade drama with the Bulls will continue into the offseason, with the Bulls possibly holding out to see if they can get the Celtics’ pick in the 2017 draft. This moves created more questions than answers surrounding the Bulls. With the Bulls seemingly giving more up, the 2018 pick seems unnecessary.