The Bulls finally made a move and the Thunder upgraded for their playoff run Thursday. Multiple outlets report that the Bulls have traded longtime power forward Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott, along with a second-round pick, to the Oklahoma City Thunder for guards Cameron Payne and Anthony Morrow and forward Joffrey Lauvergne. The Bulls have basically gone all in on Payne. Giving up Gibson and McDermott, along with a pick, to get two bit players and Payne is a massive reach. The Thunder are getting a quality defender and a shooter, without giving up anything significant. It’s a big-time move, as they set up a great combination of veterans and young guys. It’s a win for OKC. Let’s grade the trade.
THUNDER RECEIVE FROM BULLS: Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott, 2018 second-round pick
THUNDER SEND TO BULLS: Cameron Payne, Anthony Morrow, Joffrey Lauvergne
BULLS GRADE: D
OKC GRADE: A-Plus
Complete win for the Thunder. Gibson was the Bulls’ third-best player, a tough-as-nails power forward who rarely misses games, is a great defender and can hit the mid-range jumper. He’s a good rebounder and has a terrific attitude. He’s going to fit perfectly with Steven Adams and give Russell Westbrook a pick-and-pop threat, as he’s reliable out to 18 feet. OKC’s identity is defense, and it gets even better there with Gibson stepping into the starting lineup ahead of rookie Domantas Sabonis, who will be great eventually but is too young for playoff crunch time. McDermott comes with a great reputation and is a 37.6 percent 3-point shooter. The move instantly helps OKC, the second-worst 3-point shooting team in the league, with spacing. The Thunder needed a knock-down shooter and McDermott brings that with size and athleticism. And they got a pick. Just highway robbery.