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Taj Gibson's name has come up in trade rumors, but the Bulls would be nuts to trade him. Despite seemingly having a down season, Tajy-woo is putting up roughly the same numbers he's always done. Yes, at times, he's been a bit of black hole on the block and his gimpy ankles are always a cause for concern. However, if the Bulls are going to have any hope of winning the championship they have designs on this season, Taj will absolutely be needed come these playoffs.
Gibson is the Bulls' Tenacinator. He's the guy Chicago needs coming off the bench to provide energy, long-limbed, springy defense and jams so ferocious they demoralize his foes. And Taj TURNS UP for the playoffs, where he's shown us rim-hating dunks (what did they ever do to Taj, anyway?), like this:
Or, better yet, this:
The Bulls aren't getting these sorts of plays from anyone else in their frontcourt.
They will also absolutely need Taj's defensive awareness to clean up mistakes made by other Bulls on that end. Pau Gasol's a pretty good rim protector, but as I've beaten to death by now, his feet are slow and his effort is hit or miss. Nikola Mirotic is going to be something special someday, but he's not on Taj's level when it comes to defensive smarts and ability.
Joakim Noah is the Bulls most important defensive player, but Taj Gibson is a very close second. And the Bulls will absolutely need to go their time-tested, all-defense frontcourt duo at some point in the playoffs. Especially as they battle with LeBron and Kevin Love, or Al Horford and Paul Millsap, or try to get revenge on Nene and Marcin Gortat.
Taj will absolutely be needed then to provide an assist to his teammates, both on offense with his spirit-lifting monster dunks and on with his bailout defensive recoveries on help defense. The moment the Bulls trade him they'll be wishing they could find a replacement. Just don't do it.