If the Chicago Bulls can’t poach Larry Nance Jr. from the Lakers in exchange for Taj Gibson, they can target another underrated big: Stephen Zimmerman of the Orlando Magic.
Moving an expiring contract for older players is always a smart move if one can get a steal or an underrated player in another team’s roster, waiting in the wings to break out. In the summer, the Bulls picked up a player like that in Spencer Dinwiddie, who performed spectacularly in the Las Vegas Summer League.
The next best big the Bulls can get for Taj is Orlando Magic rookie forward-center, Stephen Zimmerman.
What Zimmerman has going for him is his length: a 7-foot tall forward with a 7-foot-3-inch wing span and a high basketball IQ. He performed well in the Orlando game against the Hornets, scoring six points on 3-for-3 shooting in less than six minutes. And when placed in the D-League to get some games under his belt, Zimmerman scored 24 points and grabbed 24 rebounds for the Orlando Bayhawks.
He’s almost as good as Chicago Bulls Summer League forward Jack Cooley, who at 6-foot-9 hauled in 29 rebounds in one D-League game last year. By the way, Jack Cooley shot 28-for-28 over three consecutive games in the Champions League of Basketball in Germany last November as you can see in the video below:
Included in the Stephen Zimmerman trade, to match salaries, is 3-point deadshot guard Jodie Meeks, who also has an expiring contract. Meeks can be useful as that corner 3 guy the Bulls need. But the real steal of this deal is Stephen Zimmerman.
Think about how the Bulls could sync with both players in a passing game with pace-and-space and forget about stats matching with Taj Gibson. If Zimmerman pans out as a big guy the Bulls can count on to move the ball around and make quick baskets himself, Gar Forman and John Paxson might have a future star who is currently so under the radar that casual sports fans might ridicule him since his big numbers come against D-League competition.