Doug McDermott’s return to the United Center on Saturday was just another reminder of how badly Bulls general manager Gar Forman missed on the trade-deadline deal last season that sent McDermott and Taj Gibson to the Thunder for point guard Cameron Payne.
The medical update that coach Fred Hoiberg provided on Payne didn’t help matters.
Payne, who has missed the entire season, had a second surgery on his right foot, which has been broken three times. He had another X-ray at the start of the month, and there was improvement, but he hasn’t started running or cutting and likely won’t be able to play full-court for at least another six weeks.
Figure on a couple of weeks to get in shape once he does play full-court, and there’s a good chance Payne doesn’t join the rotation until mid-February.
“I still think with Cam, hope to get him back [practicing] at some point in the next six weeks,’’ Hoiberg said. “Get him back on the floor and get him a real look to see what we have this season. He’s a guy that can push the ball up the floor. We saw that in the playoff prep.
“He came at a very difficult time last year with a veteran team and just had his struggles. At the same time, we were competing for a playoff spot, and it’s a tough time to come in and make an impact. For Cam, the big thing is to stay positive through this stretch and to get him back and have some positive moments for us when we’re going down the stretch.’’
Meanwhile, McDermott came in playing 23.4 minutes per game for the Knicks, shooting 40 percent from three-point range and averaging 7.8 points.
“Doug had some good moments [with the Bulls],’’ Hoiberg said. “People forget. He’s a guy that can flat-out put it in the basket. No doubt about that. There’s always going to be a role for a guy that can shoot the ball at that high of a clip, so he’s got good days ahead. I’m happy for him, and he’s in a situation where he’s going to get good minutes.’’
Another old face
Joakim Noah was inactive in his return to the United Center with only two games under his belt because of a suspension for violating the league’s drug policy and also getting back from injury.
Not exactly a good look for Noah.
“It was a really tough situation for me,’’ Noah told reporters. “It was very embarrassing. It took me awhile to get to grips with it. It was a mistake. I owned it. This is going to be part of my story. This is not a story of glory and, ‘Oh, he won five championships.’ No, I got suspended for drugs. It’s part of who I am.’’
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