The Bulls received some bad news this week, as backup PG Cameron Payne was ruled out until at least November after scheduling surgery for his broken foot. The Bulls acquired Payne last year from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a trade involving Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott. Kris Dunn is set to be the starter, but now the door opens for some other bench players.
Payne was looking to have more of a role this season leading the second unit off the bench, after getting put aside near the end of last season. This set back does not bold well for him, but it does open the door for some other players on the roster. One such player is Denzel Valentine. A Shooting Guard by trade, he could see some time running point after the injury to Payne. It gives him more of an opportunity to prove his versatility for the Bulls, and to the fans we was worth the 14th overall pick in 2016.
Most likely Jerian Grant now slides into the backup Point Guard role for the Bulls, with Zach LaVine still sidelined tell at least February. Grant was solid last season in just of 16 MPG, and has a chance to play a bigger role, maybe even alongside Wade for some solid minutes.
With this injury, the Bulls made a minor move, trading for Quincy Pondexter. Now, the team is still on the fence if they want to keep him on the roster or not, as they only have one roster spot left. Pondexter is due $3.8 Million this season, and he is someone that could either stay or go. He has been dealing with knee issues the past two years, keeping him off the court. Also, the Bulls got a second round pick in the deal with the goal being absorbing Pondexter’s salary, a good move in a rebuilding phase.
For the Bulls, they are going to hang to lean on Jerian Grant to run the second unit until Payne returns and try to work him more into the offense. It is a proving year for the third year player, as he has been a bust in OKC and his short time in Chicago, and the injury set back does not help him heading into his third season.