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Will Bulls Extend Gibson Before Deadline?
Posted By Joel Brigham On October 3, 2012 @ 9:00 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
The Chicago Bulls want to extend fourth-year power forward Taj Gibson. By letting Omer Asik sign with the Houston Rockets this past summer, they all but indicated that when given the choice between one or the other, Gibson was the one they’d rather hold onto.
For what it’s worth, Gibson’s preference is to stay in Chicago, too.
“I would like to play my whole career here. That’s a given,” Gibson told HOOPSWORLD at the start of training camp. “This is a great city, great organization, great people, and it would be a dream come true (to stay).”
Despite rumblings that there is optimism on both sides that a deal will get done before the October 31st deadline, an extension is no sure thing. There’s no telling what kind of payday Gibson could get in restricted free agency this summer, and there’s a chance taking an extension now wouldn’t be the most financially lucrative decision for him.
Gibson is hoping all of that doesn’t turn into a distraction now that the preseason is underway.
“Of course it’s on your mind, but at the same time you really can’t do much about it,” Gibson said. “You know you should have the agent take care of that, let the front office take care of that, so all you really have to focus on is playing basketball. That’s what you can control.”
And as far as playing basketball is concerned, Gibson has been pretty solid his first three seasons. Granted, it’s been hard to get a great read on how productive he could really be since he’s spent almost his entire career as Carlos Boozer’s backup, but he’s talented enough on both ends of the floor to be a starting NBA power forward for a lot of teams in this league. If or when Chicago uses its amnesty provision on Boozer, Gibson would be an ideal candidate to start for the Bulls, and for quite a bit less money than Boozer is currently making.
To do that, though, he’ll have to continue to get better, and recently-extended Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau spent plenty of time this offseason making sure that happened.
“As soon as the season was over, [Thibodeau] just had me in here with him, and we just worked out almost every day, just trying to get ready for the USA,” Gibson said of his preparation for the 2012 USA Men’s Select Team. “I wanted to make a good impression for the USA camp, and he came down and watched every practice. I did a good job, got good feedback, and I feel positive about it.
“After that, I just kept playing basketball and didn’t really stop playing,” Gibson continued. “I just kept playing in local tournaments. Like Thib told me, ‘Just keep playing. Don’t worry about it; just find a way to keep playing.’ And it’s been great.”
It would be even greater to get his extension taken care of, but that’s something he’s going to have to wait at least a little bit longer for. Gibson is unquestionably an important part of this team’s future, and the Bulls are hoping they can hold onto him for a reasonable amount of money.
So while Gibson looks to improve and play a bigger role as Chicago’s unquestioned sixth man this year, he’ll do so either as an imminent restricted free agent or as a re-upped veteran who will have the benefit of knowing his future with the organization.
Both sides would rather the latter, which is why they will work hard to get something done in the coming weeks. Doing so is in the best interest for both Gibson and the Bulls.
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