9:14am: The Bulls have been seeking a first-round pick for Gibson “from the get-go,” tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. As I noted below, Oklahoma City has traded two future first-round picks already, so the team would be limited to dealing its 2022 selection.
8:23am: As the Thunder explore ways to supplement their roster, Bulls forward Taj Gibson has emerged as a potential target, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein (via Twitter). Gibson, Doug McDermott, and Nikola Mirotic are all “in play” today for the Bulls as the afternoon deadline approaches, Stein adds (via Twitter).
Gibson, 31, has been as effective as ever for Chicago this season, averaging 11.6 PPG and 7.0 RPG as the team’s starting power forward. However, the veteran big man, who is earning just shy of $9MM this season, is on track for unrestricted free agency in the summer, creating some uncertainty about his status going forward.
A report earlier this week suggested that the Thunder would like to add a wing scorer to their roster. Gibson doesn’t fit that bill, but he would add some additional toughness to a frontcourt that already features Steven Adams. Oklahoma City has also been linked to Wilson Chandler this week, though as of last night the Nuggets forward wasn’t believed to be a top priority for the Thunder.
If the Bulls do decide to move Gibson, the team would likely be seeking a solid return, in spite of his contract situation — Chicago was recently said to be looking for a first-round pick for McDermott or Robin Lopez, and Gibson is arguably a more valuable part of the club’s rotation. The earliest first-rounder the Thunder could trade is their 2022 pick, but a young player like point guard Cameron Payne could also interest the Bulls.