Trade Proposal: Bulls’ Taj Gibson to Toronto Raptors for [oh dear]


Mar 25, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Chicago Bulls forward Taj Gibson (22) defends against Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan (10) at the Air Canada Centre. Chicago defeated Toronto 116-103. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Please keep an open mind on this trade proposal, Rapture Nation. What I’m about to offer may not be a deal which meets with anyone’s liking, including mine.

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Here goes: Chicago Bulls power forward Taj Gibson and shooting guard E’Twaun Moore for the Toronto Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan. The trade works on ESPN’s Trade Machine, although the Bulls gain four wins, which is the same number the Raptors lose.

Don’t stop reading – I haven’t lost my mind, and I love DD. But we need to maintain our composure, think like a General Manager, and understand DD’s contract situation. As most of you know, DeMar’s contract is in its penultimate year, and next year he can opt out of his 10 million dollar guarantee and become an unrestricted free agent. There’s little to no doubt DeMar will command a hefty raise, perhaps double his guarantee, as the NBA’s salary cap balloons to 90 million dollars per team.

Can the Raptors afford to pony up 18 million to DD for the next three seasons (let’s say) following this one? Can the team allow him to walk away for nothing? The answer to the first question is a guarded “Yes” [20-second timeout: I’m not asking the “Is he worth that kind of money” question here; that’s another post entirely. I’m merely looking at our salary situation this season and next.] and to the second “No”, which is where matters get sticky.

Amir Johnson left town without compensation, as did Lou Williams and Tyler Hansbrough. Whether there were deals on the table for them is now moot. A GM’s mission is to maximize his assets, and if Masai Ujiri doesn’t want to feel like Bryan Colangelo did when Chris Bosh left, he must take action on a high-value asset like DeMar.

The Raptors need a power forward, and Gibson is better than any of the team’s current hopefuls. This trade would spin off others; there would be a logjam at the 4-spot, which could only be broken by moving Patrick Patterson. Luis Scola could also be on the block, but only after December 15 (he was signed as a free agent).

Moving DeRozan would create a gaping hole in the backcourt. In theory, Moore, Norman Powell, Delon Wright and Terrence Ross could cover the SG spot, but such a committee hardly constitutes a satisfactory replacement for a consistent high-teens scorer like DeRozan. I’ll see if I can build a satisfactory 2-Pat for swingman deal.

Other than resigning DeMar to a new deal right now, there’s no easy resolution to this problem. But we can’t lose DeMar for nothing. This trade may be a decent first step.

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