GM: Buyout market an option for Bulls

Updated: February 25, 2011, 2:26 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Many of the trade calls Gar Forman fielded in the days leading up to Thursday's trade deadline involved Taj Gibson and Omer Asik, but the Chicago Bulls general manager said they never got close to a deal.

While other teams in the Eastern Conference such as the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks made moves, the Bulls stood pat, but Forman said it wasn't from a lack of talk.

"It's our job to canvas the league and really get a feel for any players that may be available or any players that we feel can help us," Forman said Friday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "There was a lot of conversation and a lot of back and forth. In those conversations there are a lot of ideas that are thrown out. Some of the discussions get more serious, some they don't.

"In my mind we had some serious discussions with teams about deals all the way up to the deadline [Thursday], but I never felt we were really close to doing something, that there was that right move that made sense to us at this time."

The Bulls "aggressively pursued" Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo, according to a Chicago Tribune report citing multiple league sources. The Bulls offered guard Ronnie Brewer along with two first-round picks and one second-round pick to the Grizzlies but were rebuffed, according to the report.

Forman balked at dealing Gibson and Asik, who was reportedly the target of the Houston Rockets in a potential trade for shooting guard Courtney Lee.

"Obviously you get asked about [Gibson and Asik] quite a bit. We're very high on both of them," Forman said. "We think not only for what they can do for our team today, but I think there is so much potential for growth with both of those players. Taj is in his second year in the league, and obviously Omer is a rookie. If you look back historically at teams that have had great success in this league, size matters. It's a big deal. You've got to have size on the front line and thus to us, those two guys are very, very valuable."

The Bulls, the third seed in the Eastern Conference, will have to add someone to their roster soon. After trading James Johnson to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, their roster stands at 12 and the NBA requires teams carry at least 13 players.

"The buyout market is something we will have to study over the weekend and see if there are some other potential guys who might be on the market," Forman said.

Players who are bought out by their teams have until Tuesday to sign with a new team and be available for the playoffs.

"We feel like we've got a very good basketball team, and we like our team," Forman said. "That's not to say if there are opportunities to improve our team moving forward we're certainly going to do so. But we're not going to make a trade just to make a trade or make a trade for appearance. We're going to make a trade that we feel is the right move for our basketball team moving forward.

"We've gone from where we were kind of stuck in mediocrity to what we feel is a good young team. At this point that's what we're doing; we're building a team. We're not just trying to acquire talent. We're trying to get the right pieces that fit the players that we have."