The Chicago Bulls are said to be in the running for Griffin, according to isportsweb. The Bulls were originally looking at a rebuilding year when long-time point guard Derrick Rose was dealt to the Knicks and Joakim Noah signed with New York as a free agent. However, when the Bulls were able to land Dwyane Wade in free agency, the landscape changed for Chicago. The Bulls now feel they can contend right now, but probably need to add another key piece if they are to be a factor in the Eastern Conference.
NBA All-Star Blake Griffin could certainly be that key piece for the Bulls if they are able to pry him away from the Clippers. The latest rumors indicate that Chicago may be looking to send Taj Gibson and/or Nikola Mirotic to Los Angeles in exchange for Griffin, as reported by Christian Today.
The Los Angeles Clippers have reportedly been shopping Blake Griffin for weeks, but have yet to find a suitable trade partner for the six-foot-ten forward. There have been reports of trade discussions with the Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, and Boston Celtics, among others. The Chicago Bulls would seem to have a current window of opportunity to acquire Griffin and elevate themselves in an effort to unseat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference race.
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Griffin has clearly been a valuable part of the Clippers’ success in recent years, but he has one year remaining on his contract (with an early termination option in 2017-18), and the team is eyeing a potential trade for Griffin so they don’t risk losing him as a free agent and getting nothing in return following the 2016-17 season.
Blake Griffin was the top overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, and he has lived up to the hype during his six NBA seasons. Griffin has been a highly-productive force from day one, boasting career per-game averages of 21.5 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists. Griffin is a five-time NBA All-Star, but is coming off an injury-filled season in 2015-16. When he did play this past season, he flashed his former All-Star form, averaging 21.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.
Taj Gibson entered the NBA in the same draft class as Griffin, although Gibson was less-heralded coming out of USC in 2009. Gibson was chosen 26th overall by Chicago, and has exceeded expectations as a late first-round draft choice. Gibson’s best statistical year came in 2013-14 when he posted averages of 13.0 points and 6.8 rebounds as an important member of the Bulls’ bench. Last year, Gibson played primarily as a starter for Chicago, but his overall production was down as he contributed 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest.
Montenegro’s Nikola Mirotic took the “scenic route” to the NBA, as many European players do. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets with the No. 23 selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, but didn’t play in an NBA game until 2014 after having his draft rights traded twice during those three years. The six-foot-ten, 220-pound power forward made an instant impact on the Bulls as a rookie, and had a slightly larger role on the team this past season. Mirotic has been a consistent performer during his two NBA seasons, averaging 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game over that span.
The latest NBA trade rumors have the Chicago Bulls making a move for Blake Griffin. Do you think a deal for Griffin would put the Bulls in the Eastern Conference Championship conversation next season?
[Photo by Charles Cherney/AP Images]