Lakers, Wizards, Bobcats Ask About Taj Gibson

The Lakers, Wizards and Bobcats all made preliminary inquiries about Taj Gibson recently, but the Bulls weren’t satisfied with any of the proposals, reports Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Still, there’s a “growing possibility” the team will deal the power forward before the deadline, Cowley writes, and it’s a signal that the Bulls might be willing to try to clear cap room for a run at Carmelo Anthony.

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said this week that he’s “not necessarily” going to engineer a pursuit of a star this summer, but he didn’t rule it out. Anthony reportedly sees Chicago as an intriguing free agent destination, but it would take some maneuvering for the Bulls to be able to sign him this summer. Chicago has $63MM in commitments for next season, almost equal to the projected amount of the salary cap for 2014/15. They could amnesty Carlos Boozer‘s $16.8MM salary to clear space, but they’d have to open more room to accommodate a maximum-salary contract for Anthony, which would have a starting salary of $22,458,402 for next season.

Gibson will make $8MM next season, the second year of a four-year extension he signed with the Bulls in the fall of 2012, so depending on how much salary the Bulls take in return, trading him could clear the way for Anthony. Gibson makes $7.55MM this season, and while he’s primarily been a bench player, he’s averaging career highs in minutes (28.6) and points per game (12.2). It’d be a little surprising if he wound up with the Lakers, who have mostly shied away from long-term commitments, but the Bobcats will reportedly be buyers at the deadline, so Gibson would make sense for Charlotte. The same is likely true of the Wizards, who began the season with playoff aspirations but hold only a three and a half game lead on the ninth-place Knicks in the Eastern Conference.

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