Trade Taj Gibson? Only if the Bulls are rebuilding

Trade Taj Gibson?  Only if the Bulls are rebuilding

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.

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  • Thonus, trading Gibson is a needed to give the Bulls leverage in the summer. Gibson should net the Bulls a first round pick and an expiring contract. NY isn't going to want Gibson if they're losing Anthony, they're going to want expiring contracts, players on rookie deals or draft picks...not a solid PF making $8M a year. And if the Bulls trade Gibson for expiring contracts and a pick and Anthony doesn't come, they have over $23M to get a PF and a SG (ZBO or Gasoline and Stevenson) would be a pretty nice backup plan if you ask me.

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    In reply to Dajody1:

    Look for Noah to be traded to the Lakers 2 first rounders and cash Im reporting it

  • Three year "window?" The Bulls are far from a championship team and that's WITH a healthy Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

    I know many homers will argue that the 2011 ECF team was championship or near worthy, but a simple look at the numbers tells otherwise. Go back five years, and every championship team has at LEAST three top dogs(often four or more) shooting at a quality efficiency of 45% or much higher from the field. One team 2010 Lakers had the third best player/contributor shooting .39% for the anal retentive, no life jokes we have on here, but his next closest contributors were at 45%(.448) and much higher after that.

    In 2010 the Bulls core in Derrick Rose .396, Luol Deng .429, and Carlos Boozer .433. Oh and Noah rounding out the field at a whopping .411! Sorry, but that is about as far away from a championship performing team as it gets.

    The Bulls have always been short on offensive talent by a long shot. Rose had high field goal percentages before teams really honed in on him as an established threat with successful extended double teams. I mean who did the Bulls have to make them pay? Bogans and Rest In Peace Hamilton. Also Joakim did have some good playoffs though they were short lived samplings.

    In reality the Bulls have never had in their prime top two top three with a bevvy of supporting cast quality field goal players you win a championship with; not if you're counting playoff performance results/numbers.

    While you get some technicality dnying overwhelming reality D-bags who will try to dispute this, the simple truth is the Bulls offensively have never been near good enough. And now Rose at best will probably be a 18-19ppg maybe at 45-47% if he backs way off on the threes.

    So please for the love of god bring in some legit offensive talent for ENTERTAINMENT'S sake let alone perceived pie in the sky championships. I don't know that trading a guy like Taj who actually scores at an efficient rate and always has is the answer though. If they could just dump Boozer's salary and manage to draft an offensive talent of starter or quality rotation with efficiency(and thus entertainment value) that would be good for starters.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    I basically agree. Playoff performance is what counts! Best regular season record is OK, but not if everybody is gassed for the post season. And that is what has happened.

    Even before his major injuries, Rose had the lousy playoff series against Miami, and most of the other players seemed to fall off also. This team really needs to add 2 elite players. They will have to catch some breaks to do that. And amnesty Boozer.

    Mirotic could become elite, he sure can shoot! But that is by no means certain.

    If the Bulls pass on Carmelo, they probably can get Lance S for $10 million per. He could turn into a Harden kind of steal. If both of those happen, and the FO/scouts draft well, the Bulls keep just about everyone they now have, and they are contenders .

    Another plan -- trade Taj and a 1st round pick to move up to #5 or #6 in this draft. But only if the FO feels certain there is the elite player there at #6. Otherwise, they are likely better off just using their #12 and #18 picks (estimated) and keeping Taj.

    So, besides Carmelo, there are 3 other possibilities to get elite players, but as I wrote, they will need some breaks! Should be interesting.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    RoadWarrior and Rusty,

    I don't necessarily disagree, but I'll take it from another angle. The Bulls have been one-dimentional in the Thibs era. They cannot play fast. They cannot score easily. They cannot shoot 3's. They cannot get to the FT line. This Bulls team has been all about defense and rebounding, which is great. The problem is that is the ONLY way they could win.

    Miami would win in a fast and slow paced style. They could score. They could play defense as well as Chicago when they wanted to. Now, they were not ever a great rebounding team with a lack of size - but they'd rather play small with shooters surounding James and Wade, so it's sort of by design.

    I think we are getting to the same conclusion, but thinking about it differently. Chicago could have gotten out of the East back in 2011 b/c that Maimi series was winnable even though it only went 5. Game 2 was the only Miami win that was not close. There were OT loses (game 3 or 4?) and come from behind losses (game 5). Even game 2 was close until late and Haslem could not miss from 15 feet that night. If he was off, the Bulls would have gone up 2-0, but he provided such a lift after being out with the foot injury all season.

    Then, you play Dallas for the championship? Winnable.

    So, this Bulls team has a shot at a championship if:
    1. Rose comes back at 85-90% of his pre-injury talent level and stays healthy.
    2. Mirotic comes over and is as advertized, but most importantly, a high end NBA shooter.
    3. If the Bulls can sign Anthony (even at the expense of Taj + a couple picks) we're in business... but if 1 and 2 happen, 3 does not have to necessarily happen. If 3 does not happen, you assume that the Bulls will hit on 1 of 2 possible draft picks in the upcomming draft. Having both players contribute in year 2 would be awesome.

  • In reply to Granby:

    To build on your post, Dallas won with only one true "top dog" type of player -- though I don't think that's the model a team should follow.

    Ever since he's been here, GarPax has been trying to build a defense-first team. It's like he remembers how the Bulls teams he was on didn't win championships until they played great defense, but he forgets that they were one of the best offensive teams as well.

    I could care less as to how they win as long as they do it. To me, the big difference between defense and offense is that you can teach/coach/develop/hustle/willpower defense, but not offense.

  • Kyle Irving is an offensive stud but does not play defense. I am skeptical on Melo who is another offensive power but no defense desire or skills. Defense wins championship. If you want entertainment, Golden State is your best bet, but I would not consider them more containers than Indiana, who I truly believe will win the ECF this year and by following Chicago's blue-collar/ defense first principle.

  • Option 1: Trade Gibson & Dunleavy to Charlotte for Ben Gordon & a #1 pick - this opens up cap space to sign Melo outright this summer.

    Option 2: If Melo turns the Bulls down and re-signs with NY or goes to the Lakers, Chicago has over $23M to attack the free agent market - they could offer Lance Stephenson a 4 year $40M contract, and still offer a good PF (Monroe, Gasol, Randolph, Bosh) a very nice contract to play on a title contender.

    Both scenarios the Bulls net out better than holding on Gibson.

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    That would be a steal for Charlotte! The Bulls should be able to land a better deal than that for Taj and Dunleavy. Plus, who knows when they would get the #1 pick. The Bulls have been sitting on one of those for years!

  • I also want to make one more thing clear - when people say Melo would have to take $30M less to sign with Chicago, that's simply not the case. Melo can only sign a four year max deal with the Bulls, the majority of the money he's making, in regards to that $30M discrepancy, comes with the extra 5th year the Knicks can offer him......do people not think Melo will get another contract after this four year deal expires? Let's say he signs the 4 year, $90M contract with Chicago - then after four years he signs a 3 year extension for $60M.....the first year averages $20M, so in essence he's losing only $10M, and when you factor in state taxes in NY vs. Ill, I guarantee you he sees almost NO change in overall income.

  • In reply to Dajody1:

    I would love Melo in a Bulls uniform, but not at $22.5 million per year. He is really good, but not that good. I would say, $18 million per tops. He could easily make up the difference in endorsements if the bulls win the Finals!

    Even at that, the team might be better off keeping Taj and signing FA Lance S for $10 million per.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Melo is a legit max guy. Max guys are underpaid because they would probably garner more than the max if they could.

    If Melo is surrounded by legit talent, he's a star. He can play D when he wants. He is a great rebounder for a wing, with great size. The best scorer in today's game. A competitor. He's never injured. If Noah is worth $14m his last year. And Boozer is around $16m. And Rose is like $18m, then Anthony is surely worth $20-22 mil.

    Surround Melo with Rose, Dunleavy, Noah, Mirotic and another shooter/backup big and you are in business. Basically, whatever scraps that can be kept, like Butler, Snell, etc... If Rose is healthy, that's a legit championship contender.

  • I'm just not buying the Gibson trade rumors, so the Bulls are going to amnesty Boozer and potentially wait another year for Mirotic so they can start Eric Murphy at powerforward? welcome to the twilight zone. Gibson is the guy to replace Boozer at a cheaper rate, I see the Bulls looking for an upgrade scorer at shooting guard or small forward but not really at the max level money. Like I said before, I just don't see them making a splash this summer with Jimmy Butler and Nikola Mirotic needing future cap space. This is basically your team for the next few years and we're going to have to hope they strike gold in the draft again. The last two draft picks weren't very exciting but they did a nice job in 2011. We'll see what they bring us in 2014.

  • Taj is the rare NBA player who is outperforming his contract. You don't trade someone like that unless it's an offer you can't refuse. No NBA team is going to give the Bulls a top-5 pick for a fringe starter like Taj, nor a fringe starter + bench player + low-1st -- don't be ridiculous.

    Teams are poking around Taj hoping the Bulls will give him up without asking much in return. Won't happen.

  • I can't see Taj going anywhere. I think Mirotic is going to be a star (I see him being the next Kevin Love minus the rebounding numbers), but for at least next season they will still need Taj around. As for how close the Bulls are to contending, I think they could be a contender within two years. Obviously it all depends on Rose, but I think that Mirotic is your second star followed by Noah. Then with Butler being a stud role player and hopefully this year's draft pick will be solid, that rounds out a starting five. Then maybe DJ can stick around and possibly Dunleavey, Snell, and Taj not to mention a second first round pick that can be used on multiple high potential centers (like Capela who reminds me of Asik); the Bulls bench could look really strong.

  • Listening to Bulls fans talk about never trading Gibson and a future of Gibson and Mirotic (who I guess now is the next Kevin Love) makes me sick. Same song and dance, refusal to admit that Chicago needs another star to ever compete for a title....yet again, the second star becomes available (Carmelo Anthony) and people want to pass on him for role players and the hope that Mirotic is the next Dirk or Love....sounds brilliant to me. WELP

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