Bulls trade Justin Holiday to Grizzlies for players, picks
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Wanted: A new member for the Bulls’ leadership committee.
That position became available late Thursday after the Bulls traded veteran small forward Justin Holiday to the Grizzlies for swingman Wayne Selden Jr. and guard MarShon Brooks and second-round draft picks in 2019 and 2020.
The trade was made two days after Holiday spoke about his immediate future to the Sun-Times, saying: ‘‘I’ve seen it all in my career, so basketball is just basketball. You just understand that this is a business. That doesn’t mean you approach it as only a business because you do appreciate teams that want you, the teammates you play with. But . . . you have to keep that perspective that it is a business. I’ve learned that more than most.’’
Holiday is in the final year of his contract and was cost-effective, considering he was starting and averaging 11.6 points for the Bulls while making $4.5 million this season. He also was considered one of their better wing defenders, often drawing the opponent’s best wing player.
Not only will Holiday’s departure hurt the Bulls’ defense, but he had been a solid long-range threat on a roster short of them. He was shooting 36 percent from three-point range and was averaging a team-best 2.6 made threes per game.
Along with guard Zach LaVine, center Robin Lopez and big men Lauri Markkanen and Bobby Portis, Holiday was a member of the Bulls’ leadership committee. Coach Jim Boylen put that together after several players took issue with a rough practice schedule he put in place after taking over for fired Fred Hoiberg on Dec. 3.
In a related move, the Bulls waived point guard Cameron Payne to clear room for Brooks and Selden on the roster. Payne, who never really seemed to fit into the Bulls’ rebuild, joined the team from the Thunder at the trade deadline in 2017. The Bulls traded forwards Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott in the deal.
In addition, a source said the Bulls have been involved in serious trade talks about Lopez in the last few days. His value isn’t hurt by the fact that he has scored in double figures six times since Boylen took over and has an expiring contract.
Then there’s power forward Jabari Parker, who is so deep in Boylen’s doghouse that he didn’t even get into the Bulls’ blowout loss Wednesday against the Magic.
The Bulls and Parker’s representatives have been trying to find a new home for him and the rest of his $20 million contract this season, but a source said Wednesday that there has been little movement so far and that things haven’t been helped by Parker’s reputation.
With Holiday now out of the picture, Boylen will have options. He could go back to a two-point-guard attack with Kris Dunn and Ryan Arcidiacono in the starting lineup, but that would expose LaVine’s iffy defense on the wing. A more likely scenario is rookie Chandler Hutchison getting the first crack at Holiday’s spot.
As for Selden and Brooks, both have expiring contracts and aren’t long-term solutions.