The Bulls are putting together a deep team that some have tabbed the favorites in the Eastern Conference this season. They added Pau Gasol, Doug McDermott and Nikola Mirotic. They are also in talks with Aaron Brooks as well. Add to that the hope to have a healthy Derrick Rose for the entire season. One important question needs to be asked-what happens with Taj Gibson?
Gibson has spent his career backing up Carlos Boozer. He has gotten very good, however. So good, in fact, that he played more fourth quarter minutes than Boozer throughout last season.
Gibson was set to become a starter. He said awhile back that he was told to get ready to be a starter. Instead, the Bulls loaded up at his position, and it looks like he will either be on the bench once again or, if rumors are to be believed, end up getting traded.
There are rampant rumors that the Bulls have offered Gibson, McDermott and Mirotic to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love. The Bulls are trying to woo him away from the temptation of playing with the greatest player on the planet, LeBron James, in Cleveland.
Speaking to reporters recently, Thibodeau was asked about the starting lineup on opening night and what would happen with Gibson, Gasol and Mirotic. He was non-committal on that subject, but did say that no matter what, Gibson’s role on the team will be unchanged.
“I don’t think it changes at all,” Thibodeau said. “As I’ve spoken with all three, they’re all going to have significant roles. How it plays out, we’ll figure that out. We won’t know that until they’re on the floor and we look at how they work together and what’s best for our team. We’re always going to do what’s best for our team. But they’re all going to have a significant role.”
Even though Gibson has backed up all season, Thibodeau would not rule out him starting. “I’m not ruling it out,” he said. “I want to see what happens. I want to see how it works together, what’s best for our second unit, what gives us our best chance. How are we going to finish? How are we going to start? How are all the minutes going to work out? But they’re all good problems to have.”
Then came word about the Bulls’ offer to Minnesota.
Are Thibodeau’s words to be believed? Will their package be enough to get Love to town? If not, how will Gibson handle that? We all saw what happened when Deng was the subject of trade rumors and his numbers went down.
It would be nice to have Gibson continue wearing Bulls red this season. Having a chance to get a player like Love and his offensive skills could put the Bulls over the top. The Bulls may have to sacrifice Gibson. If he does stay, however, let’s hope he stays effective in whatever role he plays.