For the first time in three trades that also netted them cash considerations, the Bulls will get to see a new young player in an expanded role.
Saturday’s trade for Thunder wing Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot likely won’t make much of an impact on the remainder of the season, but it’s still an opportunity for the Bulls to see a young player up close and personal before he hits free agency.
“(I) play hard, run the floor, play good defense,” he said Monday after practice, speaking for the first time with Bulls media. “Make the right choices, make good shots. Try to make the right decision every time and just be the guy that you want on your team.”
The acquisition of the 24-year-old wing is different from two other trades the Bulls made earlier in the year, acquiring and eventually waiving Michael Carter-Williams and Carmelo Anthony in separate trades with the Rockets.
Luwawu-Cabarrot comes to Chicago after being buried on the Oklahoma City Thunder depth chart the majority of this season. He’s not guaranteed minutes in Chicago but the path to them will be far easier on a 12-win Bulls team than it was a contender in Oklahoma City. He’s still just 24 years old and is two years removed from being a rotation player in Philadelphia, albeit for a 28-win version that was still in rebuild mode.
But the Frenchman has to be excited at the prospect of earning playing time again. He last played non-garbage minutes on November 24.
“I’m a basketball player and I love the game and it’s been so long since I didn’t see the court so I’m hungry and I can’t wait to play with those guys,” he said.
There’s incentive for him, too. He’ll hit free agency this summer and the final 29 games of the Bulls season will be an audition for 30 teams that otherwise wouldn’t have seen him sitting on the Oklahoma City bench. Perhaps that will be enough to help him improve on a jump shot that’s disappeared in each of the last two seasons and provide some more defensive impact given his solid 6-foot-6 frame.
Luwawu-Cabarrot has averaged 5.5 points on 38.5 percent shooting and 32 percent shooting from deep in 142 career games.
“Obviously it’s a fresh start. I didn’t play for a long time. Fresh start. It’s a young team,” he said. “I see that as a fresh start for me and I’m looking forward to playing.”
Perhaps the Bulls will strike (relative) gold again. Last month they dealt Justin Holiday to the Memphis Grizzlies for two second-round picks and Wayne Selden, and Selden has put together a nice stretch in extended minutes since Chandler Hutchison went out with a broken big toe; Selden is averaging 12.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in his last four games.
This isn’t to say Luwawu-Cabarrot (or Selden) are any more likely to be potential targets in free agency this summer, but the Bulls getting extended looks at young wings isn’t a bad thing. Plus, the roster could look different in a few days after the Feb. 7 trade deadline.