NBA Trade Grades: Thunder Get Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott From Chicago

Feb 1, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) drives to the basket between Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) and guard Jerian Grant (2) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 1, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) drives to the basket between Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) and guard Jerian Grant (2) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder picked up Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott from the Chicago Bulls and we’re here with some NBA trade grades.

The NBA trade deadline was nearing when the Oklahoma City Thunder landed a pair of forwards from the Chicago Bulls in a five-player swap in what appears to be a massively one-sided deal.

As first reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical, the Thunder acquired veteran Taj Gibson along with Doug McDermott from the Bulls.

Going the other way are point guard Cameron Payne, center Joffrey Lauvergne, wing Anthony Morrow and a 2018 second-round pick.

Thunder get PF Taj Gibson
SF Doug McDermott

Bulls get PG Cameron Payne
C Joffrey Lauvergne
SG Anthony Morrow

The Bulls had been shopping Gibson, who turns 32 in June and is on an expiring contract, but McDermott came as a bit of a surprise–as Nikola Mirotic had been the third-year forward on the trade block for most of the season.

The Thunder add some grit in Gibson and some much needed offensive punch in McDermott while not giving up much other than a young point guard with some potential in Payne.

Morrow has struggled with his shooting much of the season–not good when one’s specialty is shooting–and Lauvergne was never more than a spare part.

So how did each side fare? Let’s sort it out with some NBA Trade Grades.

Jan 24, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Doug McDermott (11) shoots a three pointer over Orlando Magic guard Mario Hezonja (8) during the second quarter at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder got a couple of needed upgrades for the stretch run without surrendering a lot.

Indeed, Thunder fans have a lot to like with this deal.

In Gibson, they get a veteran who had been a full-time starter for the first time in his career this season, his eighth in the league. In 55 games with Chicago, he had averaged 11.6 points and 7.0 rebounds in 27.3 minutes per game and had shot 52.1 percent from the floor.

He slots nicely into the 4 spot, moving rookie Domantas Sabonis to a reserve role, and helping Oklahoma City with its already strong plus-4.8 edge per game on the glass.

McDermott, meanwhile, has shot 37.6 percent from deep this season, down from last year’s 42.5 percent mark, but could work either off the bench or move into the starting 3 slot if coach Billy Donovan wants to replace the floor spacing lost by moving Sabonis to a reserve role.

Or if McDermott goes to the bench to keep Andre Roberson‘s defense with the first unit, McDermott creates the space Morrow was supposed to.

The one downside is that the Thunder become thin at the point guard spot, with only Semaj Christon on the roster behind Russell Westbrook (Victor Oladipo did play some 1 with Orlando, but … yeah … ).

So OKC may go shopping for free agent point guards, while considerably strengthening their frontcourt for the stretch run in the process. In all, this was a solid deal for the Thunder.

Grade: A-

Feb 1, 2017; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard Cameron Payne (22) shoots the ball over Chicago Bulls forward Cristiano Felicio (6) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls spent much of the last, oh, seven or eight months actively shopping third-year forward Nikola Mirotic.

So it makes perfect sense that on deadline day they traded third-year forward … Doug McDermott. Wait, what?

Their fanbase is a tad confused, too.

The only way this deal makes sense is that if Cameron Payne emerges from the pile of point guards the Bulls have already started this season (Rajon Rondo, Michael Carter-Williams, Jerian Grant) to take the reins of the offense.

Otherwise, you’ve dealt your starter at the 4 and a rotation reserve on the wing for a point guard coming back from a broken foot (Payne), a three-point specialist shooting less than 30 percent from distance (Anthony Morrow) and a backup center (Joffrey Lauvergne).

Oh, and a second-round pick … next year.

In the 20 games he’s been back since breaking his foot last fall, Payne hasn’t exactly lit things up, shooting 33.1 percent overall and 30.8 percent from three-point range. Morrow has shot 38.7 percent overall and 29.4 percent from distance.

Lauvergne, already 25 and in his third season, was playing almost 15 minutes a game and shooting .455/.346/.638 as a backup to the backup center in OKC. He was acquired over the summer from the Denver Nuggets and figures to compete for playing time with Cristiano Felicio behind Robin Lopez.

Add this deal to a litany of moves that just don’t seem to make a lot of sense for either the short- or long-term for Chicago, a team that seems content to just spin its wheels with neither a plan to blow things up and start over nor aggressively build a contender.

Grade: D+

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