When Cameron Payne began showing signs at the end of last season, it confirmed the Bulls’ belief they had a capable backup point guard for the future behind Kris Dunn.
It also meant Jerian Grant’s days were likely numbered and Grant was traded to Orlando as part of a three-way deal between Chicago, Charlotte and Orlando that included Bismack Biyombo going back to Charlotte while Grant and Timofey Mozgov will head to the Magic.
The Bulls acquired Hornets guard Julyan Stone, but he will be waived before his $1.6 million contract is guaranteed before August 1, sources tell NBCSportsChicago.com. Worth more than the extra cap space the Bulls will have, this signals Payne’s place on the roster—the front office believed once Payne was fully recovered from a foot injury that dogged him when he was acquired in a trade that sent Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to Oklahoma City at the 2017 draft deadline.
After Payne’s rocky finish to that season and subsequent surgery, he missed the first 58 games last season—a season Grant began as the starting point guard, beating out Dunn in training camp.
But by the time Payne was healthy and in shape, he took advantage of his opportunity, with games of 17 points and six assists against Milwaukee, 13 points and 10 assists against Cleveland and 15 points and six assists in the second-to-last game of the season against Brooklyn.
Payne shot 38.5 percent from 3-point range in 25 games last year—a valuable stat considering Dunn hasn’t yet developed into a 3-point shooter and he can be used to spread the floor if he plays late minutes during the season.
Grant, the nephew of three-time Bulls champion Horace Grant, was acquired in a trade with the Knicks that sent Derrick Rose to New York before the 2016 draft. Grant, who will enter his fourth season in the NBA with the Magic with his $2.6 million deal guaranteed, averaged 8.4 points and 4.6 assists in 74 games with the Bulls last season.
A year from now, Chicago will be on the NBA's center stage in that they will be hosting the NBA's 2020 All-Star weekend.
Sunday, Team LeBron took down Team Giannis 178-164 in Charlotte to capture the 2019 NBA All-Star Game crown. Despite next year's game being a year away, the NBA unveiled the logo for the 2020 game, which the Bulls will host at the United Center.
According to the Bulls, the logo "features elements from the iconic Chicago flag including four red six-pointed stars and two horizontal blue stripes. The Chicago Bulls’ signature font and team colors – red and black – are also incorporated into the logo scheme."
During Sunday's game, Bulls legend and Charlotte Hornets chairman Michael Jordan passed off the ceremonial 2020 All-Star Game basketball to Bulls president and COO, Michael Reinsdorf.
The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will take place on Feb. 16. It will be the 69th edition of the annual exhibition matchup.
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The NBA All-Start weekend is here, and you can bet Matt Nagy will keep an eye on the action.
The Bears head coach is a lifelong basketball fan, and he even weighed in on the “greatest of all time” debate between Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
He ranked the top 10 NBA players of his lifetime for the team’s official site, and of course, he put the Chicago legend at the top of his list.
“This is the greatest athlete to ever play a sport,” Nagy said. “When the tongue came out… good luck.”
LeBron still came in second, and Nagy was quite complimentary, calling him the “most underappreciated athlete of all time when it comes to being a complete role model on and off the court.”
Two other Los Angeles Lakers legends were next, with Kobe Bryant at three and Magic Johnson at four in Nagy’s list.
Larry Bird came in fifth, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ranked sixth, but Nagy admitted “Kareem would most likely be higher on this list if I wasn’t only 11 years old when he retired.”
Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Shaq and Karl Malone rounded out the top 10.