Bulls’ Josh Giddey Shares Heartfelt Goodbye to Thunder After Trade

The Chicago Bulls are high on new trade acquisition Josh Giddey as their surrendering Alex Caruso to acquire him would suggest.

Giddey comes over after requesting a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder, who approached him about coming off the bench next season. In Chicago, he projects to have the ball in his hands as the team’s primary playmaker.

The 22-year-old former top pick sent a message to the organization after they granted his wish.

He thanked Thunder owner Clay Bennet, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Sam Presti, and Head Coach Mark Daigneault.

“Okc… thank you for EVERYTHING,” Giddey posted on Instagram on June 21. “To the city for embracing me from Day 1. To Mr Bennett, Sam & Mark for giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of my being an NBA player, I am forever grateful. My brothers, who I got to share the floor with for 3 years. the best group of guys I could’ve imagined. Stuck with me through the very high highs & the very low lows. You guys know the real me. I am forever in debt to Oklahoma and no words will do justice to how much the city & the organization mean to me and my family.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Josh Giddey (@joshgiddey)

Giddey’s teammates filled the comments with support.

He is expected to step into a sizeable role as the Bulls’ lead guard. But they will need him to take significant steps forward in some key areas.

Bulls Need Josh Giddey to Shoot

Giddey averaged 12.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 4.8 assists last season. But his inefficiency and reluctance to shoot left the Thunder at a disadvantage in the postseason.

Giddey shot a career-best 33.7% on 3.0 attempts this past season. The Bulls will entrust his development in that area to Director of Player Development Peter Patton. It is a significant task with Giddey entering the final year of his rookie contract and restricted free agency looming.

He did shoot 36.7% on catch-and-shoot looks in the postseason, per NBA.com.

“The Bulls have had a lot of offers for Alex Caruso over the last couple years & they tried to keep him..

A contending situation was important to him moving forward & he was up for an extension”@ShamsCharania #PMSLive pic.twitter.com/RIvqRrLXk7

— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) June 21, 2024

He is also a career 75.3% free throw shooter. That includes a career-best 80.6% this past season. But as with his three-point shooting, volume is an issue.

Giddey averaged 1.6 free throws and 7.1 drives per game in 2023-24. Part of that was having Shai Gilgeous-Alexander commanding the ball. But his shortcomings left the Thunder playing shorthanded offensively in the playoffs. That is ominous for a three-point-starved Bulls.

Giddey’s defensive effort is also inconsistent which underscores the greater issue.

Insider Points Out ‘Biggest Issue’ for Josh Giddey

“If you’re a non-shooter and you have the ball in your hand, you got to be able to finish at the rim or else you’re just not going to amount to anything close to the No. 1 ball-handling option on a good NBA team. And if you can’t be that, if your team is ever going to be good or great, you’ve got to be a No. 2 or a No. 3 or a No. 4 player on a good NBA team,” Zach Lowe said on “The Lowe Post” podcast on June 21.

“There’s no evidence that he can be that either. The lack of power and explosiveness in his game on both ends of the floor, I think, has been the single biggest question mark around him and the single biggest reason why people are skeptical – including me, frankly – that he could ever become the No. 1 offensive fulcrum on a great team.”

Here’s 2:11 minutes of the Rockets completely ignoring josh Giddey on defense and attacking him mercilessly on offense: pic.twitter.com/YPZMxo7Vxl

— Itamar (@Itamar_17_10) December 7, 2023

Caruso was not that either, even with his back-to-back All-Defensive team selections. But Giddey’s expiring contract looms large in light of his uncertain ceiling.

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