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Giddey bullish about making a fresh start with Chicago

Josh Giddey is looking forward to a fresh start in Chicago.

The 6-foot-8 (203cm) guard from Australia confirmed on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) he did not want to come off the bench for Oklahoma City and insisted he appreciated Thunder general manager Sam Presti's honesty leading up to the trade to the Bulls last week for Alex Caruso.

"I'm 21 years old, it wasn't something that I was overly eager to do," Giddey said.

"He completely understood. And just throughout the whole process, we were open and honest with each other. And I said to him, 'Look, coming off the bench at this point in my career, it's not something I'm trying to do and take a reserve role.' He got it. And we worked together through the whole process, and he got me to a great spot."

Giddey is coming off a challenging NBA season in which his numbers dropped and he lost his starting job in the playoffs.

He goes from a team that went 57-25 to earn the top seeding in the Western Conference and reached the conference semi-finals with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chet Holmgren leading the way, to one that missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

Giddey said he hasn't discussed his specific role with the Bulls.

Presti said last week that the Thunder saw him in a reserve role next season in order "to maximize (sic) his many talents and deploy our team more efficiently over 48 minutes". He said Giddey had a tough time with that idea and had asked to be traded.

"The one thing about him that I really respect is his transparency," Giddey said.

The Aussie was the No.6 overall pick in 2021 and made the All-Rookie second team.

Giddey is a member of Australia's national team that will play at the Paris Olympics.

Josh Giddey.
Josh Giddey is a key part of the Australian squad for the Paris Olympics. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

He is an exceptional passer and his size makes him a solid rebounder.

Giddey averaged 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists in his second NBA season, but those numbers dropped to 12.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 2023-24.

The Australian was often booed on the road after an anonymous social media user accused him of having an improper relationship with an under-age girl, leading to investigations by police in Newport Beach, California, and the NBA.

Newport Beach police completed their investigation in January and said detectives were "unable to corroborate any criminal activity". The NBA also later dropped its investigation.

"I completely understand the question and I know you've got to ask as part of your job, but I'm not going to comment on anything regarding that situation," Giddey said.

The trade for Giddey was the first move in what could be a busy off-season for Chicago, who own the No.11 pick in the NBA draft on Wednesday (Thursday AEST).

Executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas vowed to make changes after the team he constructed finished 39-43.

Six-time All-Star DeMar DeRozan is a free agent, and Zach LaVine might be dealt after playing in just 25 games before having season-ending foot surgery.

It's not quite clear how the guard rotation will play out with Giddey added to a mix that includes Coby White coming off a breakout season and Ayo Dosunmu in a key role.

Lonzo Ball could also figure into it, though he's been sidelined since January 2022 with a left knee injury.

Giddey said he didn't discuss with the front office if the Bulls were retooling or undergoing a major overhaul.

"In terms of what direction the franchise is going, I haven't asked any questions," he said.

"I've just kind of bought into whatever happens here, happens. And I'll probably play my part in helping our team be as good as we can be right from the jump."