James Johnson traded for…

The James Johnson era is over in Chicago. According to the ESPN.com news service, the Bulls have traded him to the Toronto Raptors for the Miami Heat’s first round draft pick, which the Raptors obtained in the sign-and-trade deal that sent Chris Bosh to Miami.

It’s not exactly shocking that management would ship Johnson for essentially nothing. After all, J.J. has appeared in only 13 games this season and compiled more turnovers (18) than field goals (17). Let’s face it, his stint in the NBA Developmental League notwithstanding, Johnson was a bust-a-rama. He sure isn’t going to make it on to Basketball-Reference’s list of the best players ever traded at midseason.

And yet…his general bawfulness isn’t why the Bulls dealt him.

Sure, the Bulls have been scouring the D-League for potential shooting guards, but the guy’s they’re looking at would have serious trouble cracking coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation. So, clearly, management has other gambits in play.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes: “After shedding Johnson’s $1.7 million salary, the Bulls now possess roughly $2.9 million of salary cap space and have stockpiled draft picks. … One source said talks with the Grizzlies regarding O.J. Mayo continue, although his $4.45 million salary would need to be matched and not fully absorbed into cap space. The Bulls could add players like the Cavaliers’ Anthony Parker, the Clippers’ Rasual Butler or the Rockets’ Courtney Lee merely for draft picks with their cap space. The Bulls also could wait until after the trade deadline to see if any prominent players get bought out, and then try to sign them with cap space.”

Okay, quick thoughts.

Rasual Butler: A 36 percent career three-point shooter who can’t crack Vinny Del Negro’s rotation on the Los Angeles Clippers. I wouldn’t want this guy on the Bulls even if he didn’t have the Clippers stank all over him.

Anthony Parker: On the one hand, he’s a savvy vet who’s hitting nearly 40 percent of his treys this season (and 41.3 percent for his career). On the other hand, he’s 35 years and 249 days old. He’s a minor upgrade over Keith Bogans. His contract expires after the season. Basically a rental…which makes me feel iffy. If he’s not part of the team’s future, is there really a point to bringing him in?

Courtney Lee: I’d feel better about Lee than Parker. He’s young (25 years and 143 days) and proved he could stick the three for both the Magic in 2008-09 (40.4 percent) and this year’s Houston squad (42.5 percent). Of course, despite playing for the always-scrappy Rockets, Lee has is giving up more points per 100 possessions (D-Rating of 112) than he’s scoring (O-Rating 107), and that bugs me. He’s also on the books for two more seasons after this one, so while he’s better than Parker, he also represents more of a commitment. The big question: Does he potentially push the Bulls over a championship hump? I doesn’t feel that way to me.

O.J. Mayo: Yes, he’s having a disappointing season. And yes, that disappointing season has been made worse by his 10-game drug suspension and that fight he had on the team plane with teammate Tony Allen. But he’s a young kid with loads of potential. He’s proven he can score (18.5 PPG as a rookie) and shoot (about 38 percent from downtown over his three-season career). Mayo is also a pretty good ball handler and an above-average competitor who, in my opinion, would benefit greatly from playing for Thibs and alongside Derrick Rose. Essentially, he has the biggest upside of any of the guys the Bulls appear to be considering.

Update! According to Yahoo! Sports: “The Chicago Bulls are still pursuing shooting guard Courtney Lee, offering a first-round draft pick to the Houston Rockets, sources said. Chicago could make the offer more intriguing with the addition of the Miami Heat’s 2011 first-round pick that the Bulls acquired from Toronto for forward James Johnson on Tuesday. For now, the Rockets are determined to bring back size and want Bulls center Omer Asik in any package for Lee.”

Quick take: Joakim Noah has missed 48 games over the past two seasons. Kurt Thomas crawled out of the sea more than a million years ago. Asik is raw…but the Bulls need that insurance at the center position. I’m okay with giving up the first rounders, but the team should try to hold onto Asik unless he’s part of a bigger deal for a more significant upgrade.

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26 Responses to James Johnson traded for…

  1. nicholson.db@gmail.com'
    Dan February 23, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    I don’t agree with the “essentially nothing” part. They’re getting a late 1st round pick (roughly #30) for a failed non-lottery 1st round pick (#15). That’s pretty good value to me, considering that he hasn’t shown himself to be better than a 2nd round pick. I figured he’d just be cut after a while if he couldn’t crack the rotation.

  2. bob.edwards47@yahoo.com'
    BoppinBob February 23, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    If you bring in Mayo his contract should be mdifiedwith 2 clauses;
    1) No gambling with team mates.
    2) Daily drug tests.
    No matter what his up-side, this guy is a problem looking to happen. When the Bulls are an established team then they can take on a problem player but they are not ready for that yet.

  3. Flip21 February 23, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    I hope the Bulls can land Mayo somehow. A possible 3 way deal with Houston and Memphis.

    Houston wants a big, Bulls won’t give up Asik. Grizzlies wants a traditional SG, and wants to get rid of Thabeets contract. Grizzlies wants picks and Bulls have multiple picks. Bulls want Mayo, and Mayo is not wanted in Memphis. So………

    Bulls Get: G OJ Mayo

    Grizzlies: G Courtney Lee, F Jared Jeffries, Bulls 2012 1st, Heat’s 2011 1st

    Rockets Get: C Hasheem Thabeet and G Keith Bogans

  4. Inception February 23, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    D Rose will lead by example and Mayo will follow.

    let’s hope CHI can land Mayo.

  5. choyle@bpu.com'
    Chuck February 23, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    I think that Big Sexy and Noah will have no problems keeping OJ in line. The great thing about OJ is that he can continue to grow and develop on this young team.

  6. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    BFD February 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Damn Flip21, that is a great idea. I’m behind this 1000%

    Boppin Bob – I’m not sure about 100% this, but I believe the league handles all the drug tests and after the positive result they may be testing him more frequently.

    I don’t know why you have it out for him so bad. He isn’t the first person to have make a stupid mistake or to get frustrated. Bears great Jim Miller used the exact same excuse when he had his positive test for PED’s, and Michael Jordan has punched his former teammates out. Do you hate them too?

  7. joe.sez@gmail.com'
    joe February 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

    This year the Bulls have a chance to win a title this year. They are weak at SG and backup PG.

    JJ hasn’t contributed – losing him has little impact. Bulls can’t afford to wait to see if he develops but Toronto can.

    Trades have to involve assets other teams want.

    I am pissed at JJ for wasting opportunities with NBA distractions, coming to work out-of-shape and not picking up playbook.

    Bulls could be very very competitive if he worked to his potential so I say dump him try again. Stay the course and he’ll be cut from a crappy NBA team.

    Remember, the window JJ had is far wider than Landry Fields or Jonas Jerebko – 2nd round picks who made a team, worked hard and contributed in year 1. JJ has a guaranteed contract.

  8. joe.sez@gmail.com'
    joe February 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

    OJ Mayo is a brand – like “New Improved Tide” – you want OJ because you heard about him.

    I want someone else, someone who didn’t come into the NBA privileged and entitled without accomplishing squat.

    I want someone smart enough to read and understand an ingredients list.

    OJ Mayo would be fun if you want to read rumors about a guy getting his lights punched out in practice for being a jerk. I don’t. I want to read about a championship.

  9. phrisbee87@comcast.net'
    Jim Miller's helmet February 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    BFD didn’t really call Jim Miller a “Chicago great,” did he?

  10. steverba February 23, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    I want to see Courtney Lee in a Bulls uniform. The dude has a lot of upside, a great work ethic, and a winning attitude. He can drill the 3 and play great defense. Great spot up shooter who doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective. Seems like a really good compliment to this bulls squad at an affordable price.

    Just do not trade Asik for him. 2 first rounders and I would be happy. I’d rather give up Taj Gibson than Asik.

  11. cavendish.lamore@gmail.com'
    cavendish February 23, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

    Maybe I’m a Homer but I always liked JJ. He had much of what the Bulls needed most – athleticism, toughness (black-belt right?), and passion. He was doing well for a stretch but suffered from confidence issues and lack of focus.

    I have a feeling that if given time he can turn into a 12-17 ppg, 6rpg player with the potential to be a stopper and fast break finisher. I hope the kid does well in America’s 51st state – but not too well, I guess.

  12. bullsbythehorns@gmail.com'
    Matt McHale February 23, 2011 at 5:29 pm #

    “I don’t agree with the ‘essentially nothing’ part. They’re getting a late 1st round pick (roughly #30) for a failed non-lottery 1st round pick (#15). That’s pretty good value to me, considering that he hasn’t shown himself to be better than a 2nd round pick. I figured he’d just be cut after a while if he could’t crack the rotation.”

    Late first rounders are always a crap shoot. I’m going to have to research this, but how many 30th picks have gone on to become major contributors?

    “I hope the Bulls can land Mayo somehow. A possible 3 way deal with Houston and Memphis.”

    I absolutely love your proposal. And if Thabeet had registered a pulse anytime in the last year-ish, it might work. But the Rockets, sadly, are pretty savvy. I doubt they’d go for that.

    “OJ Mayo would be fun if you want to read rumors about a guy getting his lights punched out in practice for being a jerk. I don’t. I want to read about a championship.”

    I hear what you’re saying. I do. And, believe me, I have plenty of concerns about Mayo. But I see potential and I see teammates and a coach that could (hopefully) give him teh direction he needs.

    “BFD didn’t really call Jim Miller a ‘Chicago great,’ did he?”

    He said “Bears great” actually. And he probably is one of the top five Bears QBs of all time. Which, honestly, says more about Chicago’s QB history than Miller’s proficiency at the position.

    “I have a feeling that if given time he can turn into a 12-17 ppg, 6rpg player with the potential to be a stopper and fast break finisher.”

    I think he had that potential. But he wasn’t going to get the PT in Chicago. Not now, not with the increased expectations. maybe it’ll happen for him in Toronto.

  13. reggiemcglory@yahoo.com'
    chitown4life February 23, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

    @ everyone i have read many post, and for the majority or what has been said the tone keep Asik still comes out in print. Well not saying get rid of him just because but what I am saying is like you have seen teams do in the past couple of days, change means you must be bold and take some kind of risk to get the reward. If you can get the players you need i say make the trade with Asik i like him but at the same time if this team is gonna win we need another solid scorer. rose can not handle the load all the time and deng is not always big point guy but plays hard, and booozer will get his double, double. We need to go after mayo hard now is the time for us to win and if he helps this team then i am for it . lets not look back on this year and say it could of been big year if we made some moves or a move and next year our record is not as good. Gar/ Pax you I hope are willing to take a chance yes Asik is a big time bigmana but yet he is not our starter we have Noah and gibson to back him to let him get some air, go after Mayo send asik riks vs reward people risk vs reward …Peace Go Bulls

  14. danamontana020@yahoo.com'
    Dan L February 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm #

    I love the trade with the rockets, im just somewhat skeptical if the rockets would be willing to take on thabeets contract when he contributes so little. Although at 7’3 he plays good D and is a solid shot blocker. If the bulls get mayo this year, they have the foundation for what should be playoff teams for a long time

  15. joe.sez@gmail.com'
    joe February 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Our Host Matt sez:
    ”I hear what you’re saying. I do. And, believe me, I have plenty of concerns about Mayo. But I see potential and I see teammates and a coach that could (hopefully) give him teh direction he needs.”

    OJ Mayo is what he is: A guy who made a media event out of picking a college, went to SoCal for the spotlight, under preformed and Chicago voter style basketball – shoot early and often.

    You can’t turn that kind of guy around in a month.

    Since JJ was useless to the Coach, any time OJ can give would be an improvement.

  16. gorditadog@aol.com'
    Gorditadogg February 23, 2011 at 6:27 pm #

    I think to get a SG, like Mayo or Smith, we would need to give up Taj or Omer. And I don’t see the Bulls doing that right now anyway, because of chemistry concerns. Both players have histories, and I think Bulls management would want a face-to-face before trading one of our young stars for either of them. A more likely addition is Anthony Parker, who could get into the rotation, or Rasual Butler, who would take JJ’s place at the end of the bench.

  17. rob February 23, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    that guy that called Jim Miller a great must have been Jim Miller

  18. contrerasadvocates@yahoo.com'
    Savage February 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    I just don’t think we have the luxury of being able to trade Asik. He can serve as our backup Center for years to come, Thomas is gone after this year and Noah hasn’t been injury proof lately. This is another possibility that works financially:

    Ronnie Brewer, Heats 1st round pick combined with our first round pick for next year.

    We don’t give up any depth at the big man position but lose a player I happen to like a lot. What do you all think about it? Would Memphis be interested?

  19. dannylambo February 23, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    get mayo without losing a guy… use watever draft picks necessary, cause nobody they draft yhis year will have the same potential… if all else fails get lee for only a draft pick…. if not dont get anybody, i hetd pistons may buy out rip hamiltons contract after the deadline, so they could get him possibly… if not get maybe jr smith, or get that kaleema ezabuike or howe er u spell his name in the offseason

  20. rob February 23, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Give them Korver, Brewer is more valuable if we acquire Mayo because he can D up on the best of them. Mayo can make three’s and i think bogans has been better from deep than korver lately plus he can play d.
    I would hate to see Brewer go i love the way he plays.

  21. storm4766@gmail.com'
    Billiam February 23, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    The guy the Bulls should go after is Arron Afflalo. Young, great defender, very high-percentage shooter, can hit the three, contributes solidly in rebounds and assists, and seems like a good character guy. If the Bulls can somehow figure out a way to get him without losing too much they should do it.

  22. bodybagsteven@gmail.com'
    BFD February 23, 2011 at 9:36 pm #

    I was mostly being sarcastic with the “Bears Great” tag on Jim Miller. I just wanted to make sure people weren’t confused because I was switching sports.

    I want OJ Mayo.

    I don’t want him because of his stupid name. I don’t want him because I’ve heard of him before (I’ve heard of Courtney Lee, Anthony Parker, JR Smith before too)

    I want him because he can play. He can score like Ben Gordon (a taller, more athletic Ben Gordon).

    The reason his College signing was a media day was because the dude was hyped…just like Rose had hype, and Lebron had hype, etc. Is it his fault he was hyped? Did he somehow twist ESPN and SI’s arms to get them to cover him? No.

    I read the complaints about his troubles this year as being closed minded. If he is a bad teammate for getting into a fight on an airplane, then so is Joakim Noah. I mean, Jo once had his own teammates suspend him for an extra game right? We should have traded the bum! (/sarcasm)

    Is he a dirty player because he took bribes to go to USC? Yeah, but then what about our own Derrick Rose? His brother got free rides with the team, and probably faked Rose’s SAT’s. Grrrr…I hate Derrick Rose now (/sarcasm)

    Is he dumb because he got caught taking something that has a banned substance. Yes, of course. Was this a bad banned substance? Was it Manny Rameriez’s Pregnancy drugs? Was it Barry Bonds Cream? Was it human growth hormone? No, it was something that has been proven to have no discernible effect on improving body mass, strength, or testosterone levels.

    You say he is a distraction waiting to happen. The previous two years in Memphis, what distractions did he provide? This year, despite putting up great numbers the past two years for the Grizz…Memphis spends all of their money resigning Mike Conley ensuring that he wont be getting a good extension, drafts his replacement and then demotes him. When he does get a chance to start again like he did in December, he does real well. But despite shooting nearly .580 and scoring 27 points while contributing 5 3 pointers, he gets sent back to the bench. If I were him, I’d be frustrated and angry.

    I think all he needs is a change of scenery, one which the Bulls are more than happy to accommodate.

  23. rob February 23, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    I like the way this guy^ thinks

  24. handkuft@yahoo.com'
    GotNext February 24, 2011 at 12:01 am #

    Out of the whole bunch OJ is the most talented for sure. Players also tend to be less distracted in a winning environment. Guys like Mayo and JR Smith always come off with that me first vibe. Mayo can be successful here if he accepts the third option or even the 4th option role, and play D of course. Can he do that? Can we even get him without trading Asik?? Memphis has done dumber things.

    Courtney Lee would be a good option too. Young with good experience, shorter Ariza. Seems like a guy who thrives when he doesn’t have to score too much, but can easily give you 12.

    Either way, bulls need to get someone, if only to cut some of Deng’s minutes. I know the there’s been talk about Rip coming to Chicago, but I’m hearing Bulls are trying to buy out Prince’s contract. Kind of explains why he always plays so hard against us, but a hungry and motivated Prince??? That legitimately could be our next level guy.

  25. ricky_ricardo99@hotmail.com'
    jeremy February 24, 2011 at 9:59 am #

    JJ gunna prove you fools wrong

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    [...] Matt McHale of the Bulls-themed blog By the Horns on whom the Bulls might target after opening up some cap space by dumping James Johnson to the Raptors, who now have, by my count, [...]

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