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Report: Bulls discussed Taj Gibson trade with Lakers, Wizards and Bobcats

Jan 31, 2014, 6:50 PM EDT

Los Angeles Lakers v Chicago Bulls Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls, at least on some level, aren’t totally concerned with how they fare this season.

Derrick Rose is already out for the year, and no matter how well everything else comes together, the superstar’s injury limits the Bulls’ upside in 2014.

They already traded Luol Deng for zero assets that will help them this year. That they’ve gone 9-4 since the deal is a product of a soft schedule and a small sample – not a reason to reverse course from their greater vision.

If that plan includes pairing Rose with Carmelo Anthony (or another high-priced free agent) next season, Chicago will likely need to clear cap room.

Trading Marquise Teague for the expiring contract of Tornike Shengelia was a small start, but the the Bulls still have $64,124,513 committed to seven players (Rose, Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy Jimmy, Butler and Tony Snell plus the buyout of Richard Hamilton).

Amnestying Boozer, who has a $16.8 million price tag in 2014-15, brings that commitment down to $46,203,593. But that still doesn’t leave enough room for Melo.

With a projected salary cap of $62.1 million, the Bulls would still be $6,561,995 short of being able to offer Melo his maximum starting salary ($22,458,402) – and that’s before factoring Chicago’s first-round pick(s)* and roster charges for having fewer than 12 players remove cap room.

*The Bobcats owe Chicago a first-round pick that is top-10 protected this year.

But if the Bulls removed Gibson’s $8 million salary from the equation, suddenly, they’re right in that Melo range.

That would mean the loss of a solid player, but if the Bulls are willing to take a step back this season to take a step forward in the future – a tradeoff the Deng trade says they find appealing – Gibson’s absence wouldn’t be detrimental.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

According to a source, the Lakers, Wizards and Bobcats have each inquired about Gibson, but they were preliminary talks in which the Bulls did not like the return.

First of all, opposing teams calling Chicago about Gibson, who has three years remaining on his contract after this one, hardly means he’s on the block. If I can see why it makes sense for the Bulls to entertain Gibson trades, so can they. NBA front offices discuss trading players all the time. A majority of those discussions are one-sided and lead nowhere.

But let’s look at these three teams.

I doubt the Lakers like Gibson enough to surrender expiring contracts to get him, essentially destroying their own tightly manicured cap room to sign a star free agent. A Lakers deal would almost have to include Steve Nash, who’s under contract for next season and would cut into Chicago’s flexibility. But at a certain point, Nash plus pick(s) for Gibson would appeal to Chicago. It just matters which pick(s).

The Wizards could offer Trevor Ariza’s expiring contract and a sweetener, but they can’t include a first-round because they still owe the Suns theirs from the Marcin Gortat trade – making it much more difficult to find that sweetener. Perhaps, the Bulls really like Martell Webster, and his salary in future seasons is slightly lower than Gibson’s, but it’s unlikely Chicago would accept that drop in production for only a moderate annual savings.

The Bobcats are much more intriguing. With the expiring of Ramon Sessions, who would boost Chicago’s point guard play this season – even if the Bulls aren’t totally focused on winning this season, I doubt they’d mind it – plus several moderately priced young players (Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo), Charlotte could put together an appealing and fair offer. Gibson would go a long way in shoring up the Bobcats’ weakest position, power forward.

But, in all likelihood, these teams are trying to buy low on Gibson. The Bulls can always try to use him in a sign-and-trade down the road – I bet, say, the Knicks could use him – so Chicago is not forced to deal him now.

Unless other teams approach negotiations with that in mind, I suspect all Gibson trade talk will remain “preliminary.”

  1. crownmethegoat - Jan 31, 2014 at 7:21 PM

    melo’s boss (his wife) already said he is staying in NY, so your wasting your time CHI. It would still be nice to get rid of Gibson’s ridiculous contract tho.

    • eugenesaxe1 - Jan 31, 2014 at 8:28 PM

      When LaLa talks, Melo listens.

      • stayhigh_247 - Feb 2, 2014 at 1:43 AM

        Wrong and wrong! Last I checked Melo is bringing 99.99999% of the loot in the Anthony household, if he decides to play on the moon she will be on board the space shuttle checking realty listings. She’s just dropping hints, like she said if she could live in Denver with the man she can live anywhere and Chicago is closer to NY than Denver will ever be.

    • slate91 - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:04 PM

      No matter where Melo ends up he Will NOT win a ring unless he goes to Houston or Miami. If Melos arrogance and narcissism gets in the way he will stay in NY and complain and be the leading scorer as he has been the lat couple years. What did he really expect when he left Denver? Gosh this guy has lost all my respect .

  2. edavidberg - Jan 31, 2014 at 7:45 PM

    This is a non-story. Those teams don’t have anything of value for the Bulls. If the Bulls want to move Gibson just to get him off the books they’ll be able to do so this summer when they have a free agent star they know they can sign (which I doubt is going to happen anyway).

    • belleby123 - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      The Bulls didn’t seem to give a crap about getting anything of value when they traded their best player (and 4 highest scorer in their history), Luol Deng. Luol is a veteran and they didn’t want to pay him the money he deserved. Taj is a young player, the kind that any front office with fully functioning brains tries to use to build a team that can win for many years to come, so it makes sense that the Paxson-Forman brain trust wants to get rid of him. Apparently the Bulls are so stupid that they have decided to use the “success” of the Charlotte Bobcats to model their team after. Next up, they tell Thibs to take a hike so they can woo Jason Kidd as their coach. If the goal is to see how close to 0-82 they can come for the season they’re doing a terrific job.

  3. fnc111 - Jan 31, 2014 at 8:03 PM

    Why would Melo sign to play with an injury prone Rose? Writers must think Melo is dumb. No big time FA has come to Chi since MJ left. Wake up people. Bulls are toast.

    • chicagosports2014 - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:11 PM

      Most teams sign there big FA unless they force a trade. NY barely make the playoffs. lolz. When was the last championship ceremony? NY made trade for Carmelo, so who is NY big FA, 100 million dollar Amari Stodamire Hahahahahehe.

  4. shanelsweet - Jan 31, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    Ariza is exactly the value that Dan seems to think the Bulls might like because he cheaper and his contract expires at the end of this year. Plus, his stats are better overall. Why would the Wizards need to offer a sweetener for helping the Bulls dump salary commitments like they want to do?

  5. jadaruler - Jan 31, 2014 at 8:38 PM

    Discuss a Noah trade with Dallas. Please!!

  6. slate91 - Jan 31, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    I don’t think the Bulls are completely toast due to the fact that they play in the Eastern Conference. Tom Thibodeau has a certain aura that this team plays with especially defensively. Let’s say Rose comes back next year and will never be 100 %, and they clear Boozer, they still have Noah, Butler and room to buy a couple more B grade players even with Gibson out. They are 7 seed contenders even if Rose doesn’t play with their talent and can win on any given night

  7. blazermaniac22 - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Slate91- I agree with everything you said… Anthony is EXTREMELY overrated. I would NEVER build a franchise around a player like him. How do these GMs still have jobs?

    • kb2408 - Jan 31, 2014 at 10:47 PM

      It’s simple, they know more than some blogger on PBT. I probably wouldn’t build a franchise around Melo either. But extremely overrated? That’s going a bit overboard. You can not label “arguably” the best pure scorer in the world “extremely overrated.”

      • tuberippin - Feb 1, 2014 at 6:04 AM

        ““arguably” the best pure scorer in the world”

        Kevin Durant.

  8. billtetley53 - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    Says the PBT blogger that knows the least out of anyone……

    KB is defending Anthony for 2 reasons.
    Anthony is a lot like his favorite player(who this 40 year old dunce is gonna cry about when he retires).
    Throws up a lot of shots , and plays no defense. =Kobe.

    He’s also under the impression that Anthony is coming to the lakers.

    Yes, he’s saying on her now, that isn’t the case, but he sure was predicting it last year.
    Don’t even listen to this stink crevice.
    He’s a know nothing.

    • coachjac30 - Feb 1, 2014 at 5:02 PM

      I have to disagree with you about Kobe playing no defense. Kobe was a good defender, especially when you factor in his involvement in the offense. When you see so called “shut down” defenders at the wing position, they are often times guys that aren’t heavily involved in the teams offensive game plan.

      As for Melo, while he isn’t a great defender, he isn’t as atrocious as he is made out to be. Basketball is played 5vs, meaning that each teams defensive system and rotations are often times more important than a singular person playing defense.

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