Taj Gibson's defensive snub saves the Bulls some cash

Taj Gibson's defensive snub saves the Bulls some cash

Joakim Noah made the all-defensive first team and Jimmy Butler surprised by making the second team.  The guy we felt was a lock, Taj Gibson, made neither and also fell short in the sixth man of the year voting.  Taj Gibson's lack of award this season saves the Bulls 250k on next season's cap.

The Bulls cap number had already increased by 500k due to Joakim Noah's DMVP award, and the Bulls had planned extensively for the possibility of owing both Gibson and Noah money by waiving Murphy and calling in a favor with Utah to have them claim him. In the end, the move proved unnecessary, as Gibson didn't pick up the award.

If Gibson were to knock someone out for the award, it would likely be Kawhi Leonard or his teammate Jimmy Butler. Leonard made 2nd team forward while Butler was voted in as a guard. I think the team would have looked stronger if you simply called Leonard a guard and put Gibson in there as a forward, especially since Leonard is a wing defender (as is James the other 2nd team forward), however by the voting rules it simply doesn't work that way.

What does the award mean for Butler?

Does it raise Jimmy Butler's trade value? Does it make the Bulls want to hang on to him all the tighter? In an off season the Bulls have plenty of chances to make something happen it becomes interesting to have one of their minor pieces get this type of award to potentially raise their value.

My personal hope is that the award highlights Butler, but the Bulls remain quite open to the possibility of trading him. I'm not looking to just ship him out for the hell of it, but a huge portion of perimeter defense is having a good coach, high effort, and great defensive players behind you.

I think there's a pretty good chance you could bring in any hard working, very athletic wing player and have him become a second team caliber defensive player under Thibodeau with the current make up of the squad. Especially since a huge part of making an all-defensive team is having a great team defense on your own squad.

This isn't to disparage Butler's strong effort. He's a tremendous defender, worked hard, and is a deserving candidate. Under Thibodeau, the Bulls will likely always have multiple deserving candidates though simply because the team defense is so strong.

Condolences to Taj's family


Taj's six year old cousin, Prince Joshua Avitto, was stabbed to death in an elevator on his way out to get some ice cream in what appears to be a random slaying.

There's really nothing more awful than a child dying. As a parent, I can't imagine anything worse than one of my children being murdered. I'm not sure how close Gibson was to his cousin, but my thoughts are with his family.

If this sounds somewhat familiar, it's because Gibson's dealt with a lot of tragedy around him. He had lost three child hood friends in the summer of 2010. Two were shot, the third simply "disappeared".

That's a whole lot of death for one man to deal with. I hope the upcoming years are much kinder to Taj.

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  • Terrible news about Taj's cousin. There are a lot of sick, twisted f*ckers out there; one way or another these d-bags will get what they deserve in the end. I also can't imagine letting a 6 year old child go out alone...you're just asking for trouble.

    Hopefully next season Taj gets some of the recognition he has clearly earned.

  • So just wanted to clarify - the Bulls are not paying repeater tax this year right? The whole point of trading Deng and all those end of season moves were not to save money but instead - not to be a repeater tax payer for something as little as $100-250K. If you're going to go over the salary cap, might as well make it count. That means if the Bulls go all in next year and go over the cap, they will be considered a 1st time offender again because it wasn't in consecutive seasons - making their tax payment more palatable - right?

    Regarding Butler, the best we can hope is that Butler becomes an excellent 3 & D guy who can occassionally go to the hoop and get to the line. I really dont see Butler as anything more than a Trevor Ariza, Jared Dudley, or Wesley Matthews. Speaking of Matthews, from a salary comp perspective, his contract should be something the Bulls should try and emulate. I hope the Bulls offseason development plan for Butler involves a whole lot of 3's and working on ball handling. If I'm the FO though, I dont hesitate in trading Butler if it means we have a chance at Melo, Love or both.

    Condolensces to Taj's family - simply senseless!

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    Correct, no tax this year (also makes it much more difficult to pay it in the future).

  • In reply to ripiceman:

    The repeater tax is triggered by being a tax payer in any 3 out 4 seasons, I believe, although I've seen some sites claim that the threshold is 4 out of 5 seasons. The first seems to be the most common. In either event it is a rolling threshold, you don't get out of it and start all over. The clock began ticking with the first season of the new CBA, 2011-12 I think. So if the Bulls go into the tax the next 2 years they would become subject to the repeater tax.

    In the 3 out 4 scenario, you have to stay out of the luxury tax every other year, or once you've been in it for 2 years you have to stay out for 2 years. So getting out of it for this season negates the need for the Bulls to stay under the luxury tax line for both of the next 2 seasons. However, if they do exceed the tax for the next 2 seasons, then they would have to stay out of it for the following 2.

    I bet that the Bulls avoid being a tax payer this season at all costs, the only exception being if they could acquire both Melo and Love.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    The rule is paying luxury tax 3 out of 4 seasons makes a team eligible for the repeater tax in the following season.

    In that following season (which is now the 5th season), the eligible team can end the season either above or below the luxury tax threshold. If they are above they must pay both luxury tax and repeater tax. If they are below, they pay neither.

    So in practice a team must pay luxury tax in 4 out of 5 years to actually pay repeater tax. Eligibility for the repeater tax is triggered from paying luxury tax in 3 out of 4 seasons, but eligibility and paying are two different things entirely.

    Bulls paid luxury tax in one single season in the franchise’s history, 2012-13, and appear to have avoided luxury tax in 2013-14. If so, Bulls would have to pay luxury tax for the next 3 consecutive seasons (2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17) to actually pay repeater tax (4 out of 5) in 2016-17.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Good explanation, I had never picked up on this subtle difference. I thought you paid it in the first season you were 3 out of 4, but you're right.

  • Taj was not a starter, in that light, it’s easier to understand why he wasn’t named to all-defensive team.

    Since I’ve already got the spreadsheet made, here are the adjusted Bulls salary cap space numbers:
    With cap hold for Noah bonus, Boozer amnesty, unloading Dunleavy, deferring the 19th pick = $14,868,900.
    Also unloading Snell adds ($965,064) = $15,833,964.
    Also deferring 16th pick adds ($961,564) = $16,795,528.
    Also unloading Greg Smith adds ($440,827) = $17,236,355.
    Also unloading Jimmy Butler adds ($1,501,412) = $18,737,767.

    These figures are based upon the NBA’s April estimate for the salary cap, $63,200,000. The final salary cap number in July may bump upwards again, hopefully another $200,000???

  • In reply to Edward:

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

    Makes little sense to dump G.Smith probably.

    If Melo says he'll sign with Bulls:
    Maybe the Bulls trade up for Saric by sending both picks and Snell? Maybe Bulls get a 2nd in return?

    Would like to keep Butler if Melo comes.

    I've said this many times: I don't think the Knicks are enamored with Melo given their current shitty situation. I don't think they want to extend him for 5 more years. Jackson wants him to opt in for his final year so that they can try to attract another star over the next year... Only then would they consider locking Melo up long-term.

    I don't think that the Knicks are totally opposed to a sign-and-trade for a few good picks. Now, receiving Boozer and his salary may not be ideal, but maybe they see him as a trade chip at the deadline.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Well, it looks like we've split the difference, I had $18.3 million, you had $19.3 as the absolute max we could free up for Melo.

    However, doesn't Noah also have a bonus for making the all NBA team. Not sure if it is only for first team, or maybe second team. If so, how much is that bonus worth, another $500k for the first team, $250k for second team.

    Still doubt that the Bulls are capable(if they are even willing) of/to pull all of those moves off in the next month or so. Even if they did Melo would be leaving about $4.7 million on the table for just the upcoming season(he is scheduled to make $23.4 million if he opts in). I guess we will see if he is willing to put his money where is mouth is.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I believe it is $500k to Jo if he makes first team All-NBA, and $250k if Bulls would have won a title this year.

  • In reply to JC 2012:

    Well, Noah made first team All-NBA today, and here is a report that he will indeed get a $500k bonus for that.

    "Noah’s first-team nod gives him a $500K bonus that was originally deemed unlikely. It’ll be added to his cap figure, but it probably won’t be enough to tip the Bulls over the luxury tax line this season, as they scrambled to make late season moves to avoid any scenario in which they would have to do so. The bonus will nonetheless impinge on Chicago’s cap flexibility for the summer ahead, since it will be counted as likely for 2014/15 and be a part of Noah’s cap hit, taking it from $12.2MM to $12.7MM."

    If he also gets $500k for DPOY then his cap hit for this season and next season would increase to $13.2 million, which would reduce our absolute maximum cap space created this summer to something less than $18.3 million.

    Doug, anybody have the definitive answer on whether he gets $500k for both DPOY and first team All-NBA. Plus doesn't another $1 million added to our current payroll put us over the tax line for this season, or did the Erik Murphey move put us over a million in wiggle room.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I believe Noah's bonus is 500k, it was triggered by any number of awards DMVP, possibly 1st team defense, 1st team all NBA, but it isn't cumulative. He doesn't get 500k for each.

  • In reply to Edward:

    have you included Rips $333K? that would get you down to $18.4 million or within a rounding error of my non spreadsheet calculation.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Greg Smith is on the books next year for $948,163.

  • In reply to Edward:

    I wanted to keep my post short and concise, so didn't elaborate on the assumptions in the spreadsheet.

    Included are: (exact dollar figures used)
    All guaranteed player salaries for 2014-15.
    100% rookie salary slots for 16th and 19th picks.
    The following Cap Holds:
    Rip Hamilton's $333,333.
    Noah's DPOY bonus $500,000.
    Minimum salary slots ($507,336) for every open roster spot under 12.

    When calculating the available salary cap space based upon different assumptions (deferring draft picks, unloading players) a minimum roster charge of $507,336 must be added back in every case. For example, unloading Greg Smith's salary of $948,163 nets only $440,827 of additional cap space. Similar for Butler, Snell, draft picks, etc.

    Additional assumptions are:
    - That the cap holds for non-guaranteed players are eliminated by Bulls by renouncing Hinrich, Nazr, Augustine, Jimmer, Brewer, James, Amundsen, etc.
    - The cap holds for exceptions are renounced, such as MLE, bi-annual, etc. All these exceptions have cap holds that must be renounced to arrive at the maximum cap space numbers I've calculated.
    - Bulls and Mirotic sign an agreement stating he will not be signed for 2014-15 which removes Mirotic's cap hold of $1,085,700.

    Noah made all-defensive team last season and got no bonus, I've read nothing that says he gets another bonus this year other than for DPOY. But if he did an additional cap hold would need to be added.

  • In reply to Edward:

    Just announced Noah made first team all NBA, here is a report saying that he gets a $500k bonus for that.

    "Noah’s first-team nod gives him a $500K bonus that was originally deemed unlikely. It’ll be added to his cap figure, but it probably won’t be enough to tip the Bulls over the luxury tax line this season, as they scrambled to make late season moves to avoid any scenario in which they would have to do so. The bonus will nonetheless impinge on Chicago’s cap flexibility for the summer ahead, since it will be counted as likely for 2014/15 and be a part of Noah’s cap hit, taking it from $12.2MM to $12.7MM."

    so if he gets a $500k bonus for both DPOY and first team all NBA his cap hit becomes $13.2 million, which is the number that I used for Noah in coming up with my $18.3 million absolute max cap space for the Bulls this summer, and that looks like a slight rounding error upward based on your exact spreadsheet numbers.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Of course, you completely ignore the fact that you never accounted for any cap holds in your calculation, let alone one for an award/bonus that hadn’t even occurred yet.

    You simply used an incorrect 2014-15 salary figure of $13.15 for Noah (as you posted 1 week ago, “The salary source that I used listed Noah at $13.15 million in 2014/15”) which is still incorrect as his 2014-15 salary is still $12,200,000. It’s cap holds that change the available cap space for free agency, not Noah’s 2014-15 salary.

    Do you also attempt to take credit for not including a $500,000 or $250,000 cap hold for Taj Gibson because you somehow knew well-in-advance that Taj wouldn’t win either a 1st or 2nd Team All-Defensive award?

    It appears your obvious glee in posting this stems from the old adage, “Even a broken clock can be right twice per day.” Or in this case, almost right.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'm fairly certain he's not getting both bonuses. It's one bonus which can be triggered by multiple things. Not 100% certain, but mostly certain. This is how award bonuses commonly work.

  • Briefly off basketball, but as a parent myself, this tragedy(Taj's little cousin murdered). Just awful. I Googled this and a New York writer reports that the kids were(his cousin 6 yr old Prince and a 7 yr old girl) "going out" for ice cream at night in a housing authority building by themselves. Going out sounds like adults in their 30's on a whim venturing out for a treat - not neglected very young children wandering out into the night unprotected.

    This is rightly viewed in part as a racial issue due to the universal urban poor crime environments blacks/African-Americans disproportionately suffer in, and I know the parent(s) themselves almost certainly come from neglect and violence exposure, but still. Sending/letting two children of such a young age out at night by themselves period is.. wrong. If I was Taj I would have sympathy to be sure, but I also would be be pissed at the guardian/parent(s) out of touch or irresponsible enough to let this happen. Just my opinion. And if the parent was not there or did not consent to this then I'm sorry for them whoever dropped the ball in the extreme watching their child. Wow either way. So sad.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Yeah, I don't know who was responsible for watching the children, but whomever was is definitely at fault. I wouldn't let my kids go out and do that alone in my safe neighborhood, and they're older than that.

    If it was the parent(s) and not a sitter, then they'll probably never regret anything more in their lives.

    I suspect in these types of areas though kids are used to wandering around without a lot of chaperones.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I'm sure you suspect right. Unfortunately.

  • Side note: I'm trying to find a reliable list of all the draft candidates the Bulls have worked out. Bulls.com used to list them all, but now Gar Foreskin has apparently disincluded/blacked that information out. If anybody knows a good source that lists them please post - thanks.

    Bleacher Report says Boston 17, Phoenix 18(14), and Jazz 23 are all working out Adreian Payne. Several mocks have Rodney Hood available 16. So between the two u take Hood over Payne if you know/think Payne he will be gone at 19? If we could get Hood and Payne that would be very nice.

    Also, the Bulls and Suns packaging their first round picks with a player and trading up for Orlando's No.4 rumor persists. I know, not likely but if so do you take Exum or Vonleh at that spot(or Randle)? Myself it's probably Exum.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Without the benefit of seeing them in person, I'd go with Payne even though Hood fits the Bulls needs better, I love my bigmen. If you look at all the mocks, it seems no more than a 50/50 shot that either guy makes it to 16, so I doubt that either makes it to 19. I agree that it would be sweet if we got them both.

    Don't see a snowball's chance in hell that the Bulls 2 picks get them to 4, would they(Orlando) even do it for all of Phoenix's picks?

    However, hypothetically, I'd take Exum since he fits our need for scoring/playmaking from the guard/wing positions, although it would be tough to pass on Vonleh with his length and athleticism.

    Personally, I am rooting for those 2 guys to go 4 & 5 just so the Celtics and Lakers can't get them at picks 6 & 7.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    It will be interesting to see how Exum, Wiggins, Embiid and Parker turn out years from now. I would have to say that 2 of the 4 could be big busts because there are some high expectations. 2 could be decent. I would not be stunned if none are ever all-stars.

    I think Wiggins has a shot to be special, but if he goes to a bad situation he may never develop.

  • In reply to Granby:

    That will be very interesting to see.

    It will also be entertaining to see how the picks for the Bulls do this year -- they've had 3 duds the last 2 years! The talent evaluators for the Bulls need to be on top this year.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    The rumors are that the Bulls and the Suns are attempting to trade up for Orlando's #12 pick. Not the 4.
    Not sure who the Bulls may want at 12. Maybe Nik Stauskas or Gary Harris?

  • In reply to sfpaper:

    Dario Saric? which might get the draft picks off the cap number if he is a Eurostash.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Here is an interesting question: If the Bulls trade up to #12 and both Stauskas and Saric are available, which one should the Bulls grab?

    Do you think either could turn into starters this coming season?

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I'd cringe a bit at getting Saric. I haven't seen him play, but reading his DX profile, he doesn't sound at all like a guy I'd want on the team, on top of that, I don't think he'd be a stash guy. He probably wants to come over right away. If he was a stash guy then he'd likely be falling a lot further in the draft.

    He has a worse profile than MIrotic at the same age, if he couldn't come over for a year or two, he'd probably fall into the 20s given that the class ha a ton of talent.

  • I don't see Butler making the second team as a surprise at all. I think that we all expected it. I also don't see Butler making it over Taj as a big surprise either. Taj improvements as a player this season all came at the offensive end. I would suggest that he regressed on the defensive end, partly or mostly because he became a little full of himself due to the improvements in his offensive game. I hope that next year as a starter he can do it at both ends.

    One of the things that I don't like about the voting is that they don't differentiate between the 2 forward positions or the 2 guard positions. So we ended up with only one power forward, Ibaka and only one shooting guard, Butler(who only plays one on TV) on the 2 teams with 4 small forwards, Lebron, George, Leonard and Iggy. If they went strictly by position, Taj might have had a shot as the second team power forward.

    I'm shocked that Tony Allen didn't make it, as I think that he is still the best wing defender and maybe best man on man defender in the league.

  • Question: if the Bulls trade for Anthony (at the draft, or announced 7/1?) and take back salary, can they hit the luxury tax for 2013-2014?

    Just wondering if JR Smith would be attached to Carmelo and if the Bulls could take some salary.

    Couldn't the Bulls then sign Mirotic at the full mid-level?

  • That rumor involving Suns/Bulls trading picks to move up would presumably involve adding a player/piece as well. You're definitely not getting the No.4 simply for 16 & 19. You'd have to add a player and/or possibly another/next year's first as well or the conditional Sac pick. Even then it's unlikely. I do think Noah Vonleh when u combine his gifts and strong work ethic is intriguing. I would definitely think it worthwhile to trade up for him if at all possible.

  • One of Butler, Snell or Dunleavy?
    Those would appear to be the possible players for Bulls to include with picks 16 and 19.

  • Boston rumor mill exploding this week with Love and Carmelo to the C's. Love visited Boston this week, went to Fenway, etc... supposedly all done to convince Melo that he's all-in on Boston and get him to come. Boston has the 6th pick this year and 3 or 4 of Brooklyn's future first rounders, expiring contracts, and a couple decent players to dangle as bait. Goal is to have Rondo-Melo-Love.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Boston getting Love and Melo makes sense to me. They're an organization that makes big, bold moves and brilliantly leveraged their one recent championship by getting a desperate Nets team to overpay in assets for aging players. Now the Celtics are flush with assets to rebuild and can parlay those into star players.

    The Bulls simply refuse to tank to gain assets, nobody ever wants to part with decent assets for their players (see Deng, Luol), and everyone demands a king's ransom from them in return for their own star players. In general I think the Bulls FO gets way too much grief from the group that comments here but not when it comes to swinging the big deal.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    Yes, Ainge is bold. GarPax, not so much... I'm not sure what's more impressive - pulling Allen and Garnett in 2007, or getting all the picks from Brooklyn for Garnett and Pierce's departure in 2013. (And Bulls get next to nothing from dealing Deng in his prime, who is probably better than both of those guys at 35-37 years old.)

    If the C's want Melo + Love, they probably have the assets to get it done.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Ainge should be known as the best GM ever if he gets Melo + Love and wins a title. That would be 3 pretty incredible transactions.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Would have been interesting if the Bulls had offered to trade Deng to Brooklyn to see if they'd have taken him instead of Pierce.

  • I proposed Love to Boston(before the visit to Fenway) a few days ago. Not that I want that to happen, but just seems like a decent possibility when you look at it. That will definitely be one of the most interesting developments should a trade occur on draft night. Ainge may be one of the few guys/teams with confidence he can get Love to resign aka not get burned.

    I'm still looking for a list of the guys the Bulls worked out. I read Payne and Hood, but that's it. I mean guys like Adams, Wilcox, Young, and also Napier and Kyle Anderson.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    This is truly a fascinating off-season ahead -- a great many scenarios possible, for a lot of teams.

  • KC Johnson in the Tribune reports Noah gets a $500,000 bonus for his 1st Team All-NBA award. That would be $1,000,000 total bonuses when combined with his DPOY award which also netted Noah $500,000.

    If both these bonuses count as cap holds against the salary cap for 2014-15 then Bulls chances of signing Melo as a free agent become slimmer than slim.

    When did Joakim Abdul-Jabbar become such a beast that he is DPOY and All-NBA first team? I wouldn’t have known it from the playoffs. I think this highlights the decline of the center position in the NBA due to rule changes and their long-term effects on player development among youth.

    If Noah is suddenly as valuable as LeBron, Durant and Chris Paul (his All-NBA teammates), trade him now while hopefully another GM is blinded by the bling of Noah’s two awards.

    But Bulls FO wins the biggest award of all as the trades of Deng, Teague, and Eric Murphy allowed Bulls to still avoid the luxury tax even with Noah’s $1,000,000 in bonuses. See? Bulls FO can pull-off the big moves when it counts the most! And we were mistakenly concerned about acquiring Melo and/or Love.

    KC Johnson sounds like KC Reinsdorf as he details the amount saved by each trade and points out that Bulls will receive a payment from luxury tax paying teams due to avoiding the tax themselves.

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