Joffrey Lauvergne

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Have people around Bulls turned Gar Forman’s name into slang for bad GM moves?

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Let’s run through the series of moves that got us here. During the 2014 draft, Bulls GM Gar Forman traded two picks to the Denver Nuggets — picks that became Gary Harris and Josef Nurkic — to move up so they could select Doug McDermott. That didn’t work out. Last February, Forman and the Bulls sent McDermott and Taj Gibson to Oklahoma City for Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow. Lauvergne is now with the Spurs, Morrow remains unsigned.

That means Payne is all that is left from those two first-round picks, and he is out at the start of this season due to another foot injury. Beyond that, Payne just hasn’t been good. At all. During the playoffs last season Rajon Rondo got hurt Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg played Isaiah Canaan, Michael Carter-Williams and Jerian Grant in front of Payne.

Which led to this comment in the Chicago Sun-Times (hat tip Ball Don’t Lie).

“We knew the second practice [after he was acquired] that he couldn’t play at [an NBA] level,” the source said. “The only reason it took two practices was because we thought maybe it was nerves in the first one…

“Any [Bulls] coach who says differently is lying. … We got ‘Garred’ on that one.”

We got Garred?

Ouch. Although Bulls fans have felt that way for years now.

It’s going to be a rough season for Bulls fans.

Report: Spurs signing Joffrey Lauvergne

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The Spurs’ big-man situation is murky.

LaMarcus Aldridge was on the trade block. Pau Gasol, Dewayne Dedmon and David Lee are free agents. Davis Bertans is the most stable, though Gasol – after opting out to create cap flexibility – seems likely to re-sign.

Now, Bertans and Aldridge have company on the roster – Joffrey Lauvergne.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The 25-year-old Lauvergne has a nice variety of offensive skills – finishing outside and in, driving and passing. But none of them are elite, and he hasn’t learned how to harness all those tools into an effective package.

His defense is far more problematic. He’s neither strong nor bouncy enough to play inside and protect the rim. Lauvergne is reasonably mobile, but his defensive awareness lags far behind.

I’d be surprised if Lauvergne gets much more than minimum.

The Spurs got good mileage out of Lee, who fits a similar mold. Perhaps, they’ll also maximize Lauvergne’s abilities.

Report: Taj Gibson ‘absolutely’ would’ve left Bulls in free agency if they didn’t trade him

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Last year, the Bulls kept Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol – both on expiring contracts – past the trade deadline with the apparent intent of re-signing them. Noah (Knicks) and Gasol (Spurs) walked in free agency, leaving Chicago with no return.

The Bulls didn’t fall into the same trip this year. The traded their veteran big man on expiring contract, Taj Gibson, to the Thunder.

Why the different approach?

Gibson was clearly headed in a different direction.

Ken Berger of Bleacher Report:

Gibson, 31, was absolutely going to leave as a free agent this summer, league sources say. The Bulls were not going to re-sign him.

There are numerous possible reasons Gibson would have been intent on leaving Chicago. But, even though Gibson was Fred Hoiberg’s most vocal public supporter in the locker room, this will only intensify questions about how much veterans respect Hoiberg. Jimmy Butler keeps saying he wants to stay with the Bulls, and even that invites questions about his relationship with his coach. Hoiberg just hasn’t inspired much confidence.

This could also be about the Bulls. How interested were they in keeping Gibson? They have semi-interesting young bigs in Cristiano Felicio, Bobby Portis and maybe still Nikola Mirotic (and Joffrey Lauvergne, acquired in the Gibson trade). It could be time to test them.

Chicago’s direction is unclear, and perhaps Gibson saw the writing on the wall. He’ll turn 32 before free agency, the clock on his remaining productive years winding down. His fit with the Bulls was no longer great, and apparently that was realized already.

Reports: Bulls trade Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott to Thunder for Cameron Payne, Lauvergne, Anthony Morrow

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Back in 2014, the Bulls front office of John Paxson and Gar Forman traded two picks to the Denver Nuggets — picks that became Gary Harris and Josef Nurkic — to move up in the draft so they could pick Doug McDermott.

Thursday, the Bulls all but admitted that was a mistake.

Chicago traded McDermott and Taj Gibson to Oklahoma City for Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne, and Anthony Morrow, as reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports.

This is a good trade for Oklahoma City, especially while Enis Kanter remains sidelined. Gibson, in particular, gives them a rock-solid power forward out of the old school. Gibson can score inside and help Steven Adams, he can crash the boards, and while he’s not what he once was on that end he’s a solid defender.

Gibson is also a free agent this summer, and the Bulls were not going to pay the market value. Oklahoma City may, but Gibson will have options.

McDermott can shoot the three, hitting 37.6 percent this season, but that’s about all he brings to the table. Maybe that’s all the Thunder need. McDermott doesn’t create his own shot and he’s a big defensive liability. Maybe he can spread the floor a little for the Thunder, hang out at the arc waiting for a Russell Westbrook drive and dish, but he’s not doing much else.

Chicago gets a player with a lot of potential in Cameron Payne, he could be the point guard of the future there next to Jimmy Butler. That’s the best player on their end in this deal. But Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow are nice players who don’t actually move the needle.

This trade by the Bulls echoes their moves over the summer bringing in Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo — what exactly is the plan? Payne could be part of the future, but are the Bulls a team rebuilding around Butler? It remains difficult to see what the vision is in Chicago. Which has to frustrate Butler.

Russell Westbrook’s 38, triple-double lead Thunder past Grizzlies (VIDEO)

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) For three quarters, Russell Westbrook did most of his damage passing and rebounding.

Once his shot started falling, the Memphis Grizzlies were finished.

Westbrook scored 19 of his 38 points in the fourth quarter and had a triple-double to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 114-102 victory Friday night.

Westbrook, the NBA’s leading scorer, shot just 4 of 14 from the field in the first three quarters. He bounced back and went 4 of 6 from the floor and 9 of 9 on free throws in roughly nine minutes of action in the fourth. He scored Oklahoma City’s last 15 points, all in the final 2:35.

“He’s amazing that, in that pressure moment, he’s just like, man, loves it,” Thunder center Steven Adams said. “That’s what’s awesome.”

The Thunder trailed 89-85 when Westbrook checked back into the game, and they outscored the Grizzlies 29-13 the rest of the way.

Westbrook also had 13 rebounds and 12 assists. It was his 25th triple-double this season and the 62nd of his career. His season total is the most in the NBA since Wilt Chamberlain had 31 during the 1967-68 season.

Adams had 16 points and 13 rebounds, Joffrey Lauvergne scored a season-high 16 and Anthony Morrow added 15 points for the Thunder, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Westbrook said it was an important win following a blowout loss to Chicago on Wednesday.

“Definitely, especially when you get outplayed,” he said. “Tonight, we came out and were the more physical team and set the tone in that aspect.”

Marc Gasol scored 31 points, Mike Conley had 18 and Zach Randolph added 16 for the Grizzlies, who shot 48 percent overall but just 3 of 19 on 3-pointers.

The Thunder closed the first half strong to lead 58-48 at the break. Westbrook had 10 points, eight assists and seven rebounds at halftime. Conley had 13 points for the Grizzlies.

Westbrook got his 10th assist on Victor Oladipo‘s layup with 7:28 left in the third quarter, and had nine rebounds when he sat for a rest late in the period. While he was out, Memphis took advantage. Conley’s bank shot with 2.3 seconds left in the third gave the Grizzlies an 82-80 lead heading into the fourth.

Westbrook clinched the triple-double on a rebound with 6:49 remaining, but the Thunder still trailed. His 3-pointer with about two minutes to go put the Thunder ahead 105-102. He drained another 3 with 1:25 left to push the lead to six, and Oklahoma City controlled the game from there.

“We had a breakdown on the pick-and-roll the first 3 that he hit,” Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said. “The second one, he just raised up and hit a bomb. That’s when the game was done.”

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Committed just 12 turnovers. … Vince Carter led the team with seven points in the first quarter. He didn’t score again. … Made 12 of 15 field goal attempts in the third quarter.

Thunder: G Alex Abrines missed his third straight game with back spasms. … Shot 55 percent in the first half. … Committed 20 turnovers.

STAT LINES

Gasol went 3 for 9 and scored eight points in the first half. He was 11 of 15 for 23 points in the second half.

“Second half, he came out more aggressive and he was just making shots,” Adams said. “Good player like that is going to make those. Just going to have to live with those.”

QUOTABLE

Westbrook, on a steal he had in the fourth quarter: “My closeout speed is not bad.”

UP NEXT

The Grizzlies play at the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday.

The Thunder host the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday.

Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.