Chicago Bulls trade rumors: reportedly a 'growing possibility' Taj Gibson is traded

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

From the Sun-Times's Joe Cowley (via HoopsRumors):

while Hinrich and Mike Dunleavy have been churning in the trade rumor mill for more than a month, Taj Gibson’s name is the one that is picking up, and could determine how serious the Bulls are in clearing space for a max contract to land the likes of a Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James.

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.

...

to land Anthony or James, it will cost the Bulls Gibson, and is a growing possibility in the next three weeks.

Cowley has only been on the Bulls beat for a bit so I don't have a valid scorecard handy in terms of his reporting acumen. That is to say I don't know if it's quality or not, not that he's on the pay-no-mind list like Chris Broussard or anything. It does seem like Cowley has been more bullish (sorry) than others on the Bulls landing Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James (even mentioning the latter is ridiculously optimistic, and Cowley has) this summer.

So the logic makes sense that if pursuing a max free agent is indeed the goal for this summer, Gibson would be traded to facilitate that. However, I'm not sure why this would happen at the trade deadline as opposed to this summer. By then, the Bulls would have a better idea of their actual chances in landing a free agent, and Gibson can always be traded after it's 'made known' they can get another star. Taj is playing pretty great and has a value contract (especially if a team started him). This wouldn't be like in 2010 where the Bulls had to attach a draft pick to deal Hinrich away to free up cap space.

I suppose one benefit to a trade now is that there's either potential to get a high 2014 pick, or try to knock your own team out of the playoffs to get such a pick.

I still think the Bulls don't want to do that, nor even really want that 'second star', at least not one making as much as Melo is likely due. Maybe they use Gibson to also move Boozer off the books...which would be deliciously evil, but tough to achieve given their combined salaries.

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