Report: Bulls “checking on interest” on Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Pau Gasol

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Bulls crowded front court rotation already has Joakim Noah unhappy with his role or with new coach Fred Hoiberg.

The Bulls are struggling to find minutes for Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Doug McDermott, and Noah. Which is why a lot of teams around the league expect the Bulls to be sellers at the trade deadline.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report says the Bulls have already started testing those trade waters.

League sources say the Chicago Bulls have been checking on interest in one of their three bigs on the front line: Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, and even at one point Pau Gasol. They are looking to get a young talent back, doesn’t matter whether it’s a defensive wing or a genuine stretch four. All of this is being motivated or prompted by the emergence of rookie big man Bobby Portis, who is demonstrating he is ready to take on a role now.

This is not a new rumor. And it’s one that is not going to go away before the trade deadline.

Whether or not the Bulls are serious about making a trade, trying to find the value of players on the market is part of any GM’s job. Teams attempt to judge the value of guys they have no intention of moving all the time, it’s part of due diligence. Despite what Bucher says Bulls management believes, that team is not a title contender — but if they can get closer with a trade, they need to consider it.

As for the three players mentioned, only one is likely to get moved — Gibson. Noah has Tom Thibodeau miles on his 30-year-old legs and is not only battling to stay healthy, but also he is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Meaning teams will be hesitant to give much up for a guy that may not be able to retain. The same is true of Gasol, who will opt out of his contract this summer to chase a bigger payday. A team that trades for those guys would have Bird rights on them but very well could lose them in free agency.

Gibson is the exception. He’s under contract for a reasonable $8.9 million next season, and he can bring rim protection, rebounds, and some efficient scoring. A lot of teams trying to move up to contender status — or just ensure they make the playoffs — could use what he brings.

That said, this is all very preliminary. Don’t expect a move until closer to the deadline.