- 2015-16 – $8.5 million1
- 2016-17 – $8.95 million
- 2017-18 – UFA
2015-16 Stats as of 12/21/15
- Houston Rockets
- Phoenix Suns
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Charlotte Hornets
- Utah Jazz
Taj Gibson is an interesting trade chip because of his advanced age compared to his extremely reasonable salary, especially heading into next season’s cap hike. Add that to Gibson’s place among the NBA talent pool as a clear backup big and you run into a difficulty in projecting destinations.
Gibson would benefit almost every team that needs a nice little upgrade behind their starters on the front court and won’t cost too much to get from the Chicago Bulls because of the depth they have and the needs they have on their roster. I could see the 30-year-old PF/C being either the backup plan or the second shoe to drop after losing a superstar for a team like the Houston Rockets or Charlotte Hornets.
Acquiring Gibson will net a team a flexible big man who can play both front court positions and has a reputation for being able to hang with smaller players on switches, a valuable skill in the modern NBA, though a skill that is eroding quickly as he gets over 30. Gibson’s a young 3o by NBA standards though because he was a three-year player at USC.
According to PER, Gibson’s almost a dead average offensive player and has defensive chops that are useful if often unexciting. In the end, he could be one of the more useful small trade pieces that a team could acquire, especially given the fact that his $8.95 million salary in 2016-17 will look like a pittance soon.
The match likely needs to be a team at the zenith of their competitiveness, which doesn’t mesh with all of my choices, but also with room on the front court. Gibson isn’t good enough to move the needle for a team like the Boston Celtics but won’t find room on teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Utah Jazz might be an intriguing landing spot if they feel he’s a better fit than Trevor Booker.