Taj Gibson has been traded “like my whole career,’’ the Bulls big man said with a smirk on Wednesday.
It wasn’t about to change with the NBA trade deadline approaching Thursday afternoon.
According to an NBA source, the two-headed snake of general manager Gar Forman and VP of basketball operations John Paxson continued trying to figure out ways to immediately fix the roster, and were even in what was described as “interesting talks’’ with the Boston Celtics, as well as a mystery team, in a three-way deal that would have sent out Pau Gasol, bringing back picks and a rotation big man for the Bulls.
Those talks went silent by late Wednesday afternoon, however, as the Bulls couldn’t pry the high pick they wanted from Boston, as well as the ‘’[Gar/Pax] not wanting to look like they’re giving up on this roster this year,’’ according to the source.
As a matter of fact, that’s been the problem with all the calls they’ve taken on Gasol. He’s been the second-most consistent player on the roster this season, and with Jimmy Butler (left knee) sidelined for at least two more weeks, life without Gasol and Butler – even short-term – could be the difference in making the postseason in the Eastern Conference and being on the outside looking in.
Life without Gibson? That might be a bit more tolerable.
That’s why the Bulls have been aggressively working the phones to push the market on Gibson.
“The asking price is again high on [Gibson],’’ the source said. “But the situation is fluid.’’
Gibson knows all about that. He’s been a trade rumor for what seems like the last three-plus seasons.
“Just be ready,’’ Gibson said after the Bulls practice Wednesday. “It could be worse. People could not be saying your name at all. But it comes with it when the team is underachieving, you gotta kind of shake up things. I see what’s out there. But I’m no stranger [to this]. Since my rookie year I’ve been in trade rumors a lot, so it’s nothing new for me.’’
That doesn’t been that Gibson hasn’t at least asked his front office about all the smoke surrounding his name.
“I talk with Gar and Pax almost every other day, so I never get that feeling, but you never know,’’ Gibson said. “An offer could be made and things could be shaken up. It’s a part of the business. It doesn’t mean they don’t like you or don’t appreciate you. It’s just that it’s a business. I totally understand it. But I’ve been in it like my whole career. There’s always different articles here and there, he says this or that. But I know when to call their cell phones or home numbers, and if I feel funny just call them and we talk. That’s it.’’
For weeks, coach Fred Hoiberg has maintained that the Bulls hadn’t had serious talks about shaking up the roster, but he wasn’t as strong with that stance hours before the team boarded the plane to Cleveland.
“People just lie to each other up until those last 48 hours and then conversations finally become serious,’’ Hoiberg said with a laugh, when asked on the climate of the trade talks this season. “It’s that time of year. I know those guys [Gar/Pax] are doing their job. They’re on the phone constantly, as all 30 teams are this time of year and seeing if there’s things to improve rosters. That’s what it’s about this time of year.’’