The Trade deadline is at 2pm (central) today. And we have morning juice from ESPN’s Marc Stein:
The Thunder are frequently good for a Deadline Day surprise and league sources say Chicago's Taj Gibson has emerged as an OKC trade target.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 23, 2017
Taj Gibson, Doug McDermott and especially Nikola Mirotic ... Chicago Bulls all in play today on Deadline Day according to league sources.— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 23, 2017
The Mirotic bit we’re well aware of, he’s reportedly being progressively shopped and is the centerpiece of Jahlil Okafor talks with the Sixers.
But we haven’t heard about Doug McDermott much at all (there was a report earlier in the week which I deemed not credible, hmmm) and while Taj Gibson’s name has been in Bulls trade rumors since 1997 it may finally be the day. Gibson is going to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and turning 32 next season. I ultimately believe the Bulls want to keep Taj and sign him to an extension, but it’s possible Gibson and his agent are not giving any ‘hometown’ discount this time around and that could make the Bulls proactive (for once).
As for how the Thunder match up in a trade, while they have their 2017 first round pick, due to their other outgoing obligations and the Stepien Rule the soonest they can offer one is 2022. So the younger assets they would move would potentially be young guys on small deals like Cameron Payne, Domantas Sabonis, and Jerami Grant, who’s related to a dynasty Bull (and is Jerian’s brother) so must be mentioned. And while they have a significant Traded Player Exception, it’s not large enough to fit Taj Gibson’s contract (and can’t be used in combination with a player). So for salary matching purposes you’re looking at an expiring like Anthony Morrow and/or long term deals for Kyle Singler and Alex Abrines. It should be said that Mirotic’s salary does fit in that TPE though.
Enjoy the day! I’m admittedly nervous. Given how little faith I have in the Bulls assessing value, I’d rather do a bad Okafor trade if it meant there was no chance at a bad (any) Jimmy Butler trade.