Taj Gibson's hot play has teams interested in him at the trade deadline. Of course they're interested. He has two years remaining on a value contract. He looks solid on offense, incredible on defense, doesn't cost much, and is a great intangible guy. Everyone would love to have a Taj Gibson on their team.
Including the Bulls.
I've seen it said that trading Taj Gibson is the canary in the coal mine on whether the Bulls chase Carmelo Anthony. As I've noted in past blog entries, the Bulls would need to make such a trade in order to open up room for Melo. That said, even this eventuality makes little sense.
Think the Bulls would have a hard time moving Gibson for pure cap space if Anthony agrees to sign this summer? Hell no. Teams would be lining up to use their cap room on Gibson's cheap contract with his quality play. If they need the cap space, they'll be able to get it. Once that fact is known, New York will likely beg to take Gibson back themselves to just get something.
No, there's only one realistic scenario in which Taj Gibson's traded. Chicago gets some really good draft picks and wants to really scrap this group of players all together. It's a rebuilding move not a retooling move. Taj is probably a perfect candidate to be the fourth best guy on a traditionally talented championship team.
He's making less salary than his present ability which is rare for a veteran player who can help a team win right now, and if Boozer's dumped, he's one of two big men left on the roster. The Bulls need Taj to field a competitive team next season in terms of talent, ability, and leadership.
There's simply no likely scenarios where Taj is traded and the team breaks even on the talent returned in the short run which is why any move to dump him looks like a rebuilding one since any cap space play could be made at a later date where it can't go sideways against Chicago if they can't sign someone.
The worst case scenario for the Derrick Rose era might be to go all in for Carmelo Anthony, dump Gibson, watch Melo head to L.A. then have get caught without enough assets to really compete in the next few seasons. Maybe in the long run the Bulls come out ahead on a Taj trade by turning around some draft picks into great players, but that process likely takes several years to improve the team.
Rose and Noah? Chicago needs to win now with those players. Rose is young, but two knee injuries into his career and a game that won't age gracefully means the Bulls should be looking at a three year window with him. Maybe they get lucky and that window grows, but they sure can't count on it.
So no, Taj Gibson isn't the canary in the coal mine on Carmelo Anthony, to me, a Taj Gibson trade is the canary in the coal mine on the Bulls belief in Derrick Rose's career. Lose Gibson and strike out in FA? That basically ends the Bulls title hopes for the next few seasons unless they pull a rabbit out of their hat somewhere else.