I made a comment that if the Bulls were to trade Noah, the time to do it was last off-season. His value was at it's peak at that point. Don't worry about not wanting to give up Joakim Noah, other teams aren't going to be dying to get him either. Not when he's paid at fair market value anyway.
terms of salary Noah's probably worth 11-12 million a season and Gibson
is probably worth 5-7 million a season. While I'm sure many teams would
love to have Joakim on their team, none of those teams are going to be
excited about the prospect of trading away significant assets and paying
12 million a season to make it happen.
On the other hand, Taj Gibson has tremendous value. He's a legit 3rd big man who might develop into a 2nd bigman and is paid a shade over the minimum for three more seasons.
If cost isn't a factor than Noah is the better player, but if we're trading Noah for an upgrade, then that team, by definition, is rebuilding. In that scenario, Noah is no longer really all that valuable. Rebuilding players are looking for value contracts not for quality players on expensive deals.
Rebuilding teams need cap flexibility, not to maximize their wins from 33 to 37. In fact, 33 probably helps them get a better lotto pick anyway. For the Bulls, Noah has more value than Gibson. We're trying to win right now. The season is a failure if we don't make it to the 2nd round, and I think most fans are hoping for some ECFs at the very least in the next five seasons.
Much for that same reason, I don't think Denver wants Noah for Melo. First they have Nene on the roster already, and they're scheduled to come way under the salary cap until they add some expensive new players. Why screw up your cap space for Deng + Noah + your existing team? That's a team that's not making the playoffs, doesn't have much upside and is fairly expensive.
For Denver, Gibson at 1 million a season allows them to get a quality prospect at a dirt cheap price for three seasons to use their cap space with. Getting the last bit of incremental talet isn't important. It's not worth 11 million to go from 33 wins to 37 wins. That's not the same as going from 53 wins to 57 wins, or possibly the 2nd round to the ECF or the ECF to the finals.
In Denver's situation, there's simply no way that Noah's worth 33 million over three years more than Gibson is. So really, in terms of will Noah go for Melo, the answer is no. I don't think it's in either team's best interest to do the trade that way. I don't think it helps Denver nor does it help us.
In terms of trade assets for a star player, for better or worse, the Bulls best assets are Taj Gibson and the Charlotte first rounder.