The Oklahoma City Thunder are reportedly interested in Chicago Bulls power forward Taj Gibson.
With the departure of Kevin Durant during the offseason, the Oklahoma City Thunder weren’t expected to be in contention for a playoff spot in the talented Western Conference.
But low and behold, led by the awesome force that is Russell Westbrook, who is averaging a triple-double as we speak, the Thunder currently hold down the seventh spot with a record of 32-25. While this should be considered an accomplishment, it appears that the Thunder are looking to make a move prior to this afternoon’s trade deadline.
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Initially, the Thunder were interested in Denver Nuggets swingman Wilson Chandler. As of last night, though, that no longer seems to be the case, according to Sam Amick of USA Today.
Update to Wilson Chandler intel: OKC, I’m told, no longer has Wilson Chandler on its radar.
For those of us who have followed Gibson’s career during his time in Chicago, this should come as no surprise as the eight-year veteran has been linked to multiple trade rumors over the past few seasons.
Gibson has become a fan favorite in the Windy City, and his unselfish attitude — along with his willingness to do whatever it takes to help the team be successful — has endeared him to both coaches and teammates alike.
In 55 appearances with the Bulls in 2016-17, Gibson is averaging 11.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest while shooting a respectable 52 percent from the field. Because of those stats — along with the fact that Gibson is effective at both ends of the floor — it should come as no surprise why teams would be interested in acquiring his services.
Despite Gibson’s contributions, the idea of moving him may not be so farfetched being that he becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Secondly, if the Bulls don’t have any intentions of re-signing him this summer, it would be in their best interest to see if they are able to get any kind of return, compared with letting him walk away for nothing.
A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that the Bulls were seeking a first-round draft pick for either Robin Lopez or third-year forward Doug McDermott. That being said, if the Bulls are genuinely interested in parting ways with Gibson at this point, one would think that their asking price would be somewhat similar being that Gibson has established himself as player who can thrive in whatever role he is given.
The one snag with this scenario has to do with the fact that the earliest first-round selection the Thunder would be able to trade is their 2022 pick, per Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors. While the Bulls should at least make an attempt to get something in return for a player that may or may not be around next season, it is unlikely they would be willing to accept a pick they couldn’t cash in on until five years from now.