Bulls PG Josh Giddey welcomed trade over backup role in OKC

League: NBA

Posted on: 25 Jun, 2024 at 08:20 PM

Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

New Bulls point guard Josh Giddey touched down briefly in Chicago on Sunday and was formally introduced on Tuesday before he embarks on his next mission with the Australian national team at the Summer Olympics.

Giddey, 21, was acquired on Friday in a one-for-one trade for Alex Caruso to be given a chance to fill the point guard role the Bulls envisioned Lonzo Ball filling the past several seasons.

Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti said the deal came about when the Thunder approached him about running the second unit.

"At this point in my career, I'm 21 years old, it wasn't something I was overly eager to do. I said to him, 'Look, at this point in my career it's not something I'm trying to do,'" Giddey said at his introductory press conference.

It's a new start for Giddey, who said he understands the Bulls are heavily armed with guard options and is willing to compete for his role.

"I haven't asked -- I focused on getting here and getting focused," Giddey said. "My job is just to make the game easy for everyone else. ... That's kind of how I see myself, making basketball and the game easier for those around me."

Giddey, the No. 6 pick in the 2021 draft, was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a minor in Newport Beach, Calif., but authorities and the NBA said they were unable to corroborate any allegations of criminal activity and closed the case in January. Asked how the matter impacted him last season, Giddey declined to comment on "anything regarding that situation."

With a shifting role in Oklahoma City, where is role changed from his first two years, Giddey said he didn't adapt quickly to playing off the ball in deference to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

"It was just a year of adjusting and learning different things," Giddey said.

Giddey said he's thought about a contract extension a lot in the past year but understands the trade might change his expectations. He's not planning to force the issue as he becomes eligible for a new contract before the season.

Ball has missed all but 35 games since a sign-and-trade deal brought him to the Bulls from the New Orleans Pelicans in 2021. While he sounded optimistic in May about playing again this season, Ball hasn't been fully cleared medically.

Giddey averaged 12.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game in 2023-24. In 210 career games, he averaged 13.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists with the Thunder. He said a flip switched in his mind entering the offseason that he needs to make sure he's ready to go defensively to avoid a diminished role in the postseason.

While he's in Paris with the Australian team, Giddey said he will be in contact with Bulls coach Billy Donovan and others to make sure he has the best understanding of his role and the system when he arrives at training camp.

"We haven't spoke style yet. Style of play, roles, all of those things we haven't discussed," Giddey said.

--Field Level Media