COMMENTARY | The Chicago Bulls rumor mill is in full swing.
Let's take a brief look at each one before exploring why each is a bad fit:
In early January, word began circulating that the Bulls were a preferred destination for Carmelo Anthony, according to Marc Berman from the New York Post. That was only the beginning. By the time the month ended, CBS Local's New York affiliate John Schmeelk had the Bulls listed as the odds-on favorite to pull off a move before the trade deadline this month.
No doubt, Anthony would be a fantastic addition to the roster. As it stands, the Bulls have a hard time scoring, and the New York Knicks' forward would immediately alleviate much of the burden from guys like Joakim Noah.
Taj Gibson's name is frequently included in potential trade scenarios that are floated around. With the trade deadline approaching, though, there seems to be a greater sense of urgency in the chatter.
In a widely circulated rumor, the Chicago Sun Times' Joe Cowley noted in a column last week that the Washington Wizards, Charlotte Bobcats, and Lakers had distinct interest in Gibson. Now, Cowley went on to note that the Bulls "didn't like the return" they were offered, but if the team wants to move one of the best reserve forwards in basketball, there will be no shortage of takers.
So why say no?
To start, the Bulls would be wise to bring Nikola Mirotic over from Real Madrid as soon as possible. Sure, the Bulls' front office did a bit of posturing last week when they said that the goal was to have Mirotic stateside by the summer of 2015, but waiting that long would be a mistake.
Simply put, the sooner he is added to the roster, the better the team will be moving forward. He is that good, and acquiring Anthony could prevent that from happening.
Some other things to consider come courtesy of NBA.com's Sam Smith who wrote that "the Bulls would have to amnesty (Carlos) Boozer, give Taj Gibson away for nothing and likely their No. 1 pick" to sign Anthony after this season. And after all that, they would be forced to fill out the roster with players making the league minimum. That is no way to field a team capable of winning the NBA Finals.
Another thing to consider is that even if the Bulls did trade for Anthony, there is no guarantee that he would be back next year. Sure, they would be able to offer him the most money because he would be on their roster at the end of the season, but other factors may influence his decision. It is not the type of risk the Bulls need to take right now. The trickle-down effect his presence would have on the roster is simply not worth the investment.
Regarding Gibson, he isn't the type of guy to unload in an effort to clear cap space. He is cost-controlled, an amazing defender, and can turn it on offensively. To be sure, being the first guy off the bench is a role the forward excels in, but there is little doubt that he can be very successful in the starting lineup. Gibson gives the Bulls quite a bit of roster flexibility, actually.
With his ability to play both forward positions and guard both the perimeter and the lane, head coach Tom Thibodeau is able to maximize matchups on the defensive end. Given that no matter who general manager Gar Forman brings in this offseason the team will still have a defense-first mentality, Gibson's presence is key moving forward. Much like Noah, he has too much value to the overall productivity on both ends to part with.
The front office is going to have to find other ways of clearing cap space while keeping their eyes squarely on improving the offense. Signing someone to a max contract, while parting with one of the most versatile players on the roster is not the way to put the Bulls in a position of perennial contention.
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