The days leading up to and during the 2016 NBA Draft saw a whirlwind of 11 trades involving 26 players, three future draft picks and cash take over the league as teams jostled for young players, salary cap dumps, and coveted prospects.
Roughly one week removed from the draft, the trade market has seemingly dried up with the start of free agency only two days away. However, rebuilding squads like the Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, and Utah Jazz have been linked to deals over the last week.
The Bulls, who surprisingly and quickly jumpstarted a rebuilding process by shipping former MVP point guard Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks and even dangled All-Star shooting guard Jimmy Butler in draft day trades, are reportedly furthering their overhaul by offering up athletic power forward Taj Gibson, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
Gibson is entering the final year of his contract, worth $8.9 million, and would serve a trade partner as both an excellent upgrade in the frontcourt and a valuable expiring contract before the league’s salary cap grows even more for the 2017-18 season.
After posting two career years, Gibson’s numbers declined last season to 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds over 26.5 minutes per game while Chicago floundered and missed the postseason for the first time in eight years. However, Gibson did post a career-best 115 offensive rating and 52.6 percent shooting and would be a valuable piece for a contender looking for solid athletic big man off the bench.
The Sun Times report specifically addressed the likelihood of center Joakim Noah moving on from Chicago, and how parting with Gibson would cut into the Bulls' depth in the frontcourt with Robin Lopez, Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis and Cristiano Felicio.
In the meantime, the Jazz are reportedly shopping point guard Trey Burke, according to ESPN. Formerly Utah’s No. 9 overall pick in the 2013 draft, Burke’s overall production slipped to 10.6 points and 2.3 assists over 21.3 minutes per game last season. But Burke also transitioned from a part-time starter his first two years in the league to more of a bench role, appeared in only 64 games, and nailed a career-high 34 percent from beyond the arc.
Still, the Jazz backcourt is quite crowded and they already acquired point guard George Hill, and expect 20-year-old Dante Exum to come back after suffering a torn ACL and missing all of last season.
Then there’s the Nets, who finished with the third-worst record in the NBA last season and are seeking even more salary cap space with a trade involving veteran point guard Jarrett Jack.
According to The Vertical, Brooklyn is “shopping” Jack in the hopes of shuttling his $6.3 million base salary for next season. Jack will be an unrestricted free agent after next season, and Brooklyn could either buy him out or waive him before Thursday since only $500,000 of his salary is guaranteed.
The Nets would have to waive Jack by June 30 so his salary won’t count towards their current $67.1 million pay roll for next season, otherwise they can offer teams the ability to buyout or waive Jack themselves and take back a valuable asset like a player or draft pick in return. Brooklyn currently has $26.8 million in cap space before the start of free agency, according to Spotrac.com.
Meanwhile, the Detroit Pistons are close to a deal that would send journeyman shooting guard Jodie Meeks to the Orlando Magic for a second-round pick in 2019, sources told The Vertical.