Joakim Noah’s injury likely changes Bulls’ plans at trade deadline

Associated Press
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The Chicago Bulls were expected to be sellers at the trade deadline. They had already reportedly tested the trade market for Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol, and Taj Gibson. With Nikola Mirotic on the roster (but struggling) and the emergence of rookie Bobby Portis, the Bulls could move one of their bigs to get help on the wing.

Now Noah is out for the season following shoulder surgery.

Not only does that mean the Bulls are without their best rim protector, but also it changes what the Bulls are thinking at the trade deadline, suggests Sam Amick of the USA Today.

Noah’s injury also closes whatever window there was on the Bulls’ desire to trade him. They were exploring what they could get for him as the February trade deadline approached….

The Bulls were also quietly checking into deals for Pau Gasol, who will opt out of the final year of his contract after this season. But Gasol, who played in Friday’s loss to the Mavericks, is also battling injuries (shoulder, Achilles) and has a short list of teams he will sign with, making it difficult to trade him for a valuable asset.

Gibson, both because he is rock solid on the court and will make an affordable $8.9 million next season, was always the most likely Bull to be moved if they wanted real quality back. But now, can the Bulls afford to get rid of another big? Or, would they want to try to bring in another big man in a trade, one under contract who will be around longer? Would the Bulls be willing to move a wing such as Tony Snell to get the deal done?

The Bulls are going to undergo a lot of roster changes the next couple off-seasons. It will be interesting to see how they construct a team to fit around Bulls’ coach Fred Hoiberg’s system (which didn’t love Noah, so he was moved to the bench).