Chicago Bulls get: PF/C Joffrey Lauvergne, SG Anthony Morrow, PG Cameron Payne
Oklahoma City Thunder get: PF/C Taj Gibson, SF/PF Doug McDermott, 2018 second-rounder
With this trade, GM Sam Presti has made it very clear that despite the departure of Kevin Durant this past summer, he still has every intention to have his team compete now. And with this trade, he has undoubtedly helped them do so. All three of Lauvergne, Morrow, and Payne were struggling this year thus far, each performing worse than they did last year, and -- while the ‘regression to the mean’ philosophy is in fact not untrue -- Presti did well to sell them off for a high price.
That “price” is of course Gibson and McDermott, who will each provide necessary fortification to the Thunder’s forwards corps. McDermott -- averaging 10 points and 1.2 threes per game on 37.5% outside shooting -- will provide another essential perimeter threat and will stretch the floor for Russell Westbrook. Gibson -- currently producing 11.5 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game on 51.4% shooting from the floor -- figures to be a key rotation member in OKC’s frontcourt, as his strong defensive prowess can make him compatible with sharing the floor with C Enes Kanter.
Payne is the only major loss here, but with forwards like Domantas Sabonis and Jerami Grant, OKC has more than enough talent ready for the future. My only drawback of this trade here for the Thunder is the issue of depth in the backcourt with Morrow and Payne gone: behind Westbrook and Oladipo (who was, and still is, injured at the time of this trade), the best players are Alex Abrines and Semaj Christon, who should be role players or bench warmers rather than forced to be integral cogs of the Thunder rotation. The guard rotation is simply not sustainable right now, and especially with the timing of the Oladipo injury, it begs the question as to why Presti couldn’t even get a throw-in -- or something: even a free-agent signing -- in or as a result of this trade. Improving your frontcourt only to decimate your backcourt isn’t exactly making too much progress; still, when analyzing the particulars, OKC gets a slight plus on this one.