Chicago Bulls Free Agent Rumors: Taj Gibson Trade Option, Josh Smith, Jordan Hill, Aaron Brooks Free Agent Targets? Jimmy Butler Signs

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Jul 06, 2015 12:21 PM EDT
Taj Gibson #22 of the Chicago Bulls drives with the basketball as Josh Smith #5 of the Houston Rockets defends
Taj Gibson #22 of the Chicago Bulls drives with the basketball as Josh Smith #5 of the Houston Rockets defends during their game at the Toyota Center on February 4, 2015 in Houston, Texas."

The Chicago Bulls took care of their top priority by agreeing with Jimmy Butler on a max contract after bringing back Mike Dunleavy and now the team could consider a Taj Gibson trade after drafting Bobby Portis, while free agents like Josh Smith, Jordan Hill, Norris Cole, Amar'e Stoudemire, Luis Scola and Gerald Green could be potential additions to the roster for Fred Hoiberg.

The Bulls brought back Butler on a max deal after giving a qualifying offer and that helped keep other teams from chasing the star guard. Butler reportedly has agreed to a deal worth over $90 million for five years and that was first reported by Yahoo Sports. The Bulls also brought back Mike Dunleavy after he had some interest from the Cleveland Cavaliers and that gave Chicago its top free agents back for this offseason.

UPDATE: Aaron Brooks has agreed to sign back with the Bulls. He will be the backup for Rose again. Per Marc Stein @ESPNSteinLine "ESPN sources say Aaron Brooks has struck a one-year deal to return to the Chicago Bulls."

There was a report about tension between Derrick Rose and Butler, but the team later came out and said that it was not accurate. Butler now is getting paid and clearly his gamble paid off after he rejected a contract extension last season. Butler had a career year and also won the most improved player award. The Bulls now have other moves to make, as the Chicago Tribune reports that the team may consider a Taj Gibson trade this offseason. UPDATE: David West has signed with Spurs.

The Tribune wrote that with the emergence of Nikola Mirotic, the drafting of Bobby Portis and the solid play from Pau Gasol and Joakim Noah, it's likely that Gibson is the odd man out and could be shopped in trades. Making things a bit tougher is the fact that Gibson just had surgery, but there could be teams interested in the forward. Gibson has been very solid for the Bulls when healthy, but he is making over $8 million the next two years and that likely does not fit the role that he will have. Norris Cole could be an option as a backup point guard on the market.

Gibson is in a similar situation as Carlos Boozer was last year, as the team liked what Boozer was bringing to the table for his role (limited minutes, middle of games), but his salary was too much to justify that role. If the Bulls moves Gibson, the team could look at free agents on the market at a cheaper price. ESPN Chicago reports that names like Josh Smith, David West, JR Smith and Gerald Green could be potential options along with Amar'e Stoudemire, Jordan Hill, Luis Scola and Chris Copeland.

The Bulls likely will not spend big on any free agents, but players like West, Hill, Smith and Copeland could come fairly cheap. The team may want some depth behind Butler and also some extra depth up front if they decide to move Gibson. West is looking at winning teams and could consider Chicago, while Smith spent part of last season with the Rockets and is mainly an offensive player, something that Chicago could use more of after also bringing back Dunleavy.

Dunleavy is signing a three year deal for just under $15 million and that allowed the team to bring in Butler on a max deal with Joakim Noah, Gasol and Rose all on the books. The Cavs were going to make a hard push for Dunleavy and now the main move for the Bulls could be to shop Gibson this offseason. Butler was the main priority and now he is locked in.

Check here for more on the Bulls offseason moves.

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