Cameron Payne treated his trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder to Chicago Bulls as an opportunity.
“It’s going to take time, but I want to be the guy for the Bulls’ future,” Payne recently told The Vertical. “I felt like OKC wanted something else, and I’m happy that Chicago felt the need to come trade for me. With what they gave up to get me, it meant a lot. The role that they want me to play … it’s tough. We’re in the middle of the season, and I got to learn a lot in such a short time period.
“I’m trying to pick up as much as I can. It’s a different style of game play, a totally different group of guys. It took me a year to get to know those guys in OKC, and now I have a month and a half.”
The Bulls have given opportunities to Rajon Rondo, Jerian Grant and Michael Carter-Williams since moving on from Derrick Rose.
“When I was in OKC, I knew I would be playing behind Russell (Westbrook) as long as we were there,” Payne told The Vertical. “I was with a veteran guy who’s in his prime, playing unbelievable, and I get to watch and see it right through my eyes. That was a learning experience where I just wanted to learn from him. I take everything he taught me, everything I learned, and I get to use it now.
“Seeing the floor, knowing time and score and when to get off a shot and when you can’t. Knowing that coming late in the game, how every possession is important. I need to get better at all of that. Russ comes in every day in practice and approaches it as a game. I take that as a great example to abide by.”
Payne has two seasons remaining on his contract.
Bulls management said it targeted Payne, who went 14th overall in 2015, in the draft.
“I feel it’s a blessing in disguise, leaving and coming to Chicago,” Payne told The Vertical. “I’m super excited to get an opportunity to play. I want to attack this, and get better and do my best when I get out on the court.”