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Report: Josh Giddey Requested Trade, Resisted Coming Off Bench

Josh Giddey
(Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

Josh Giddey requested a trade after learning he would not be starting next season.

As the season drew to a close in OKC, it became apparent that the Oklahoma City Thunder’s plan for Josh Giddey was beginning to evolve. He saw diminishing play time during this year’s Western Conference playoffs. His minutes slipped until he was ultimately benched for the final two games of their series against the Dallas Mavericks. When Giddey learned that his move to the bench would likely become permanent next season, he asked OKC to “explore other options”.

“We want to thank Josh for his many contributions to our team and know he will capitalize on the opportunities before him in Chicago.  

When we drafted Josh in 2021 he was an essential aspect of our vision for the next iteration of the Thunder. Since then, our team has evolved rapidly and dynamically in ways we could never have anticipated. Therefore, as we began our internal discussions this off-season, it was determined that bringing Josh off the bench next season was our best option to maximize his many talents and deploy our team more efficiently over 48 minutes. 

As we laid out to Josh how he could lean into his strengths and ultimately optimize our current roster and talent, it was hard to for him to envision, and conversations turned to him inquiring about potential opportunities elsewhere.”

Statement from Sam Presti, OKC Executive Vice President and General Manager

Presti went on to commend Giddey for his professionalism throughout the matter and wished him well in Chicago.

This was a test, and subsequent failure, of Josh Giddey’s discipline and maturity. OKC is obviously very serious about winning and has all the pieces to do so. They still envisioned Giddey as part of their team’s potential, but he could not accept a changing role. He now finds himself a member of the Chicago Bulls, a team much less serious about winning. They gave up Alex Caruso for Giddey, a move that’s questionable at best. DeMar DeRozan‘s future is questionable as well, as the free agent does not have a contract in place. It’s very possible that the Bulls let DeRozan walk and continue to save pennies on salary.

There’s no doubt Josh Giddey will be a starter in Chicago next season. The question is if this is a good move for Giddey’s growth and success as an athlete. I would argue that staying in OKC and developing his game as a member of a competitive roster will do much more for his career than becoming the first option on a team that will fight to make the play-in every season. Will becoming the centerpiece of the Bulls develop the 21-year-old into the All-Star his former GM believes he is? Time will tell.

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