Taj Gibson Rumors

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Taj Gibson
Taj Gibson
Position: F
Born: 06/24/85
Height: 6-9 / 2.06
Weight:225 lbs. / 102.1 kg.
Salary: $8,500,000
If the Bulls don’t draft a foreign player to stash overseas or if they do re-sign Mike Dunleavy, avoiding the luxury tax will be difficult. This is why improvement from within, specifically from Nikola Mirotic, Doug McDermott and Tony Snell, will prove vital. Taj Gibson’s name could be bandied about in trade speculation, as it seemingly always is thanks to his budget-friendly contract and dependable two-way production. But next season’s success largely will depend on internal improvement and the considerable talents of Rose and Butler, whether or not coach Tom Thibodeau departs.

Taj Gibson the odd man out in Chicago?

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Trading one of Chicago’s four core frontcourt players for a wing would be the best way to unclutter the roster and open up at least the mini midlevel exception. All four guys deserve major minutes, and a team just doesn’t need four bigs who require that kind of time — especially when none of them can slide into the small-forward spot. Thibodeau tried that with Mirotic, but it’s a waste of his skill set, and he struggles at times to defend wing players — especially when teams put him in the pick-and-roll, as Cleveland did when Mirotic was guarding Iman Shumpert. Gibson is the likeliest trade candidate, though there is some intrigue around the league about Noah on an expiring contract. Executives are curious: Is Noah forever diminished, or can we rehabilitate him? But Noah is so central to Chicago’s culture that the Bulls may be reluctant to move him. He is their soul. Then again, people said that about Luol Deng, and when the Bulls found a killer trade, they didn’t hesitate.
The unusual part of the Thibodeau-Bulls power struggle is that he hasn’t lost the locker room at all, despite his notoriously hard-driving style. On the contrary, players overwhelmingly voiced their support for the coach in the locker room. “If it was up to me, he’d be back,” said Derrick Rose. Added Joakim Noah: “I think Thibs is a hard worker who always had us prepared.” Said Taj Gibson: “If you want to be coached and pushed, Thibs is the coach for you. If you don’t want to get better, this isn’t the team for you.”
Dellavedova made the Cavs as an undrafted rookie before last season after leaving Saint Mary’s as the school’s all-time scoring and assist leader. He fought his way into the Cavs rotation — last season under coach Mike Brown and this season under coach David Blatt — by playing solid defense and providing relentless effort. His tangle with Gibson was not his first. Wild guess alert. It probably won’t be his last. “Physical, but never cheap,” Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett said of Dellavedova. “He’s been in some scraps before. He’s gotten under some skin, but I never saw him do anything cheap. “The leadership, basketball IQ and toughness are things he brought every single day for us for four years. He just wants to win. That’s all he ever cared about. And he’s very loyal. I know it’s a different team than his first year but he’s grateful the Cavs gave him an opportunity. Him knowing he’s appreciated by LeBron and those guys, that’s just going to drive him (further) to do whatever he can to help them win.”
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The NBA retroactively assessed a technical foul to Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova for his role in the altercation Tuesday that led to Taj Gibson’s ejection with 10 minutes, 25 seconds left in Game 5. Gibson’s flagrant-2 foul didn’t get downgraded, which means he has three points for two flagrant fouls during the postseason. Another flagrant would trigger an automatic suspension — one game for a flagrant-1 and two for a flagrant-2. “Still don’t understand it,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said of Gibson’s ejection. “It was a nothing play.”
The Gibson-Dellevedova incident led to the two teams pushing and shoving, and that was a talking point after the 106-101 Cleveland victory. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau called it “bizarre,” while Cavaliers coach David Blatt wanted to choose his words carefully afterwards. “Melee doesn’t seem to be the appropriate word,” Blatt said. “Can you think of a different word, and I’ll answer the question?” When it was referred to it as an altercation, Blatt said, “I didn’t think anything of it. No comment.” His response was met with a laugh.
Matthew Dellavedova led James to the corner after he’d jabbed toward the lane with defensive blanket Jimmy Butler guarding him. James caught it, hopped back, loaded and fired. Shot goes in, it’s 86-84. Ball game. “It was a tough shot. You saw him fading away from the three-point line. What do you think we should’ve done better?” vented Taj Gibson, who guarded Dellavedova on the game’s final play despite tweaking his knee in the fourth quarter, then heaved both his shoes toward the corner of the Bulls’ locker room, uninterested in reliving their failed opportunity.
To put into context what Butler is tasked with on a nightly basis while trying to guard James, Bulls forward Taj Gibson compared James to arguably the best player of all time. “He’s the Michael Jordan of our generation,” Gibson said of James. “He’s extremely talented, extremely physical, it’s just tough [defending him], man. It’s funny I was just watching the Detroit Pistons documentary [Thursday], about how you just have to go after guys all these years. We’ve been seeing LeBron over and over over the years, and every year we just kept getting better and better. You see how Jimmy was stepping up taking those shots he wasn’t taking last year and it’s big. We need everybody.”
Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau seems committed to keeping his lineup as is, even with center Joakim Noah struggling. Noah is 1 for 14 from the free throw line in the postseason and Thibodeau was asked Thursday if he would consider starting backup forward Taj Gibson instead. “Not right now,” Thibodeau said. “When Jo was on the floor, we were a plus. You’ve got to look at a lot of things. We’ll see how it unfolds, but Jo brings a lot to our team.” Noah is leading the Bulls with 10.8 rebounds per game in the postseason and said his free-throw woes haven’t become a mental thing. “It’s disappointing,” he said. “I’ve just got to keep working and make them tomorrow.”