As noted this morning, one rumor out of Chicago has the Bulls considering parting with rising second year forward Taj Gibson for the right to bury Rudy Fernandez on their bench.
Gibson was taken in the late stages of the first round of the 2009 NBA draft and averaged 9.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and more than a block a game last year in 26.9 minutes of duty, playing in every single game of his rookie season. Before the start of last year, John Hollinger wrote...
An athletic 6-10 forward who can block shots, rebound and defend smaller players on switches, Gibson's primary impact is likely to come at the defensive end. He doesn't have the bulk to battle big power forwards on the blocks, and his offensive game consists mostly of dunks. Additionally, he's already 24 years old, which historically has been a major red flag for draft prospects -- some of his college competition was half a decade younger. He'll compete with fellow rookie James Johnson for minutes behind Tyrus Thomas at the power forward slot.
Here's his advanced stats profile on Basketball Prospectus if you're into that sort of thing.
Something (or someone) would have to give if Gibson came to Portland. With LaMarcus Aldridge playing heavy minutes, Marcus Camby sliding over to the four spot on occasion and the need/desire to develop Dante Cunningham, Gibson might find his playing time slashed in half (or more) here. But even if he didn't play, Gibson would still be another cheap (rookie deal), relatively young (just turned 25) asset to include in future trades.
There are a ton of ways to look at Rudy's situation right now. Would the Blazers be selling low if they moved him now? Could they have gotten far more than Taj Gibson in return last summer? Would they be compromising the strength of a future package if they simply dumped Rudy by himself? Is it worth the day-to-day drama to keep him around? Is he poised for a bounceback season? (To that one, I say yes, without hesitation.)
Also consider: would a future draft pick be better than receiving a player (and a contract) in return? In case you're interested, Blog a Bull says Gibson is too steep a price for Fernandez but they would be willing to part with a future pick.
Take all of those questions into account and vote now. Rudy Fernandez or Taj Gibson? If you could pull the trigger today, would you? Explain your thinking in the comments.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter
PS Duh. This topic has been hashed out and voted on thoroughly here as well. My bad and thank you to jeckyll2hyde.