How do you solve a problem like Taj Gibson? A follow-up.
February 9th, 2014

Despite it running in the initial instance with a rather significant error in it – I spent a lot of time breaking down how the Bulls had arrived at, and would extricate themselves from, a luxury tax position that they weren’t actually at – the previous post entitled How Do You Solve A Problem Like Taj Gibson? received a remarkably hearty welcome. So, thank you for that. However, as is always the way with pieces that deal with salary minutiae and machinations, and appraisals of team’s proximities to the salary cap and luxury tax thresholds, there has been some misunderstanding of what was said and meant. This considerably briefer follow-up will hopefully clarify these issues. 1) The fact that Taj Gibson has these unlikely bonuses that the Bulls may find necessary to alleviate via a trade does NOT mean that Taj will be the one traded. This seems to be a conclusion that a lot of readers have drawn, and it is one with which I couldn’t disagree more. Taj is neither the problem nor the solution here – indeed, there isn’t really a problem, and even if there was, it is one much more easily solved via trades of others. Mike Dunleavy Jr, say, or Kirk Hinrich. Or even Tornike Shengelia again. This is not to say that Taj cannot or will not be traded – he might. He is coveted and sought after, and competitively priced. However, if he is traded, this isn’t why. 2) I agree that the bonuses are not all that likely to be met, and particularly the all-defensive first team one. The Bulls presumably know that too. But they have to operate on the basis that it might, on the basis that it might. 3) The fact that the Bulls can pay the luxury […]

Posted by at 1:47 PM

How do you solve a problem like Taj Gibson?
February 7th, 2014

Found this on the internet but couldn’t find anyone to credit, so…good work, random anonymous person. Taj Gibson is bloody excellent. Long noted for his technically precise interior defense, he has managed the rare feat of developing his offensive game to the point that he is a versatile and viable offensive weapon (he now hits the mid-range jumpers he has always taken, and damn near dream-shook Greg Stiemsma the other day) without losing any of his defensive intensity or effectiveness in the process. On a team more capable of creating high percentage looks for each other, he might even crack a 53% true shooting percentage. There is a reason Carlos Boozer just did something very out of character for his usually highly professional sense and complained publicly about regularly being benched in the fourth quarters – it is because he is regularly benched in the fourth quarters. Because by this time, Taj Gibson is comfortably better. “Power forward of the future” claims are a bit ambitious considering Gibson turns 29 in June and Nikola Mirotic is waiting in the wings, but he’s certainly the power forward of the now. However, as the Bulls have long since been aware of, the retention of talent costs money. Having retained everybody except Omer Asik and Kyle Korver, the Bulls still paid out so much that they went into the luxury tax last season, for the first time in their history, and were due to do so again this season before the Andrew Bynum and Luol Deng swap. That trade saw them pick up some future draft picks and squeak a few dollars under the luxury tax this season, and the subsequent trade of Marquis Teague opened up a little more wiggle room. Chicago nevertheless remain extremely close to the luxury tax. They are […]

Posted by at 3:02 PM