Chicago Bulls

Bulls send Cameron Payne to D-League

Bulls send Cameron Payne to D-League

When the Bulls traded Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott for Cameron Payne and others at the deadline, it was said that Payne had star potential and he could be a point guard of the future.

With the operative word being, "future", Payne was dispatched to the Bulls’ D-League team in Hoffman Estates for the next couple days as the Bulls head to Toronto for a game against the Raptors.

"He’s going to practice with Windy City this afternoon and then he’ll play in tomorrow’s game," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. "And then the plan is to see how things go with the game, practice with Windy City again on Wednesday and then play in the game on Thursday as well."

Payne has missed time with soreness in his right foot, a foot that’s been operated on twice in his career. Getting acclimated to a new team, along with playing time that wasn’t easy to come by in Oklahoma City, hasn’t been easy.

He’s shown more of an aggressiveness to shoot than playmaking in his nine games as a Bull, jacking up nearly nine triples per 36 minutes and shooting 33 percent from three.

"I'm just trying to float the offense. It's not just about putting up shots for me, but I'm gonna take an open shot if it's there," Payne said last week. "I'm not gonna pass up an open shot at all, because I feel like that would hurt the offense. 

"If it's an extra pass or a shot, you've got to take it. Fortunately, a lot of those shots come to me when I'm wide open so I've got to take them to help the offense."

With Gibson contributing as expected in Oklahoma City and McDermott having a couple breakout games sprinkled into his stint, the Bulls seem to have a lot invested in Payne, so the D-League assignment could be seen as a sign Payne isn’t yet ready for prime-time.

He was another in a point guard rotation that included Michael Carter-Williams, Jerian Grant and veteran Rajon Rondo, who returned to the starting lineup last week in Charlotte after being pulled in late December.

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When the mantra seemed like Hoiberg was going to give everybody a chance, one wondered if the game was moving too fast for Payne. He often turned the ball over in bunches, but he hasn’t had the practice time to acclimate to the offense, either.

Payne has spent time with Hoiberg looking at film to see where he can get his opportunities, but it wasn’t going to be an easy transition.

And being that he was singled out by the front office as a prime reason for trading a veteran like Gibson and McDermott, whom many feel was still developing, he’ll face a lot of pressure when he does get out there.

Luckily for Payne, he carries an easygoing demeanor and gets along well with his teammates as he’s struggled.

"I think I've played alright," Payne said. "It's been hard trying to get adjusted, but I've been playing alright, on and off. I've had a lot of turnovers, which I've got to clean up. But I feel like it's just getting used to playing with the guys I'm playing with. I'll definitely play better."

Bulls Talk Podcast: How blockbuster trade between Cavaliers-Celtics impacts Eastern Conference

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USA TODAY

Bulls Talk Podcast: How blockbuster trade between Cavaliers-Celtics impacts Eastern Conference

On this edition of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill, and Kevin Anderson break down the blockbuster Cavs-Celtics trade and how it impacts both teams.

Plus should Bulls fans be upset at the deal they got for Jimmy Butler in light of the Irving trade? Kendall also shares his recent conversation with Dwyane Wade and the panel weighs in if it’s a foregone conclusion that Wade ends up playing with Lebron this upcoming season.

Listen to the full episode here:

Report: LeBron James' camp thinks Dwyane Wade will wind up with Cavs

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USA TODAY

Report: LeBron James' camp thinks Dwyane Wade will wind up with Cavs

There was a time in the not-too-distant past that then-Bulls Derrick Rose went toe-to-toe with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat's tag-team duo in the Eastern Conference.

Six years later, Wade has replaced Rose in Chicago. Rose made a pitstop in New York via trade. James, after winning two titles in Miami, went back to Cleveland. Rose joined him earlier this offseason, signing a one-year deal with the Cavs.

Got all that?

The NBA looks different these days, and according to one Cavaliers beat writer it could look way different sometime this year. That's because Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon reported Tuesday that people in James' camp believe Dwyane Wade will play for the Cavaliers at some point this season.

"As of right now, people close to James are fairly confident that, at some point this year, Dwyane Wade is going to end up on the Cavs."

Now, there's obviously a lot to break down here. First, Wade is under contract with the Bulls and is due nearly $24 million this season. Then again, a report earlier this month said that Wade is likely to be bought out by the Bulls sometime in the near future. That part isn't all that wild, but it's far from a sure thing, especially if Wade and the Bulls can't agree on how much Wade should receive if bought out.

Then there's the decision Wade would have to make after clearing waivers. It was pretty clear he wasn't chasing a championship ring when he opted to sign with the Bulls last summer. Who's to say that itch has returned? We already know he'd be welcomed back to Miami, as face-of-the-franchise center Hassan Whiteside said he would.

Going to Cleveland would, of course, put Wade in great position to go chase a fourth NBA title, but it would also put him alongside his good friend James.

There's a lot to break down here, but we know this much: the Bulls have entered rebuilding mode and clearly don't have a use for Wade. But Wade could also be part of a trade in the winter as an expiring contract that nets the Bulls future assets. He's also a heck of a mentor for what will be one of the best young teams in the league. He also puts butts in the United Center seats, which may be more difficult to do than in recent years.