CHICAGO – Time is quickly becoming the enemy for the Bulls and forward Taj Gibson.
Gibson and the Bulls have not agreed to a contract extension, although the organization is continuing to negotiate and work out a deal with Gibson’s agent Mark Bartelstein before tonight’s deadline at midnight. If Gibson, who is entering his fourth season in the NBA, does not sign an extension before the deadline, he will be a restricted free agent next summer.
“I have to wait and see,” Gibson said. “They’ve had good talks. Hopefully, get something done so I can just focus on basketball. ... Other people are more focused on it than me.”
One positive for the Bulls is that should Gibson not sign, teams won’t be able to offer him a back-loaded contract – similar to the Houston Rockets’ strategy and subsequent signing of Omer Asik – to make it difficult for them to match because Gibson qualifies for the Larry Bird exception.
Gibson said he shuts off his cell phone whenever he’s at home to prevent distractions and prevent people calling him to ask about his contract situation. But no worries, his agent found a way to keep him in the loop.
“The majority of the time my agent just pops up at my house at like 6 in the morning with McDonalds, and he’s like, ‘We have to go over this,’ ” Gibson said. “ ... Every morning it’s something new, but it’s a blessing to be in this position. Not many people can say they have a chance to get an extension from a great team like the Chicago Bulls. I’m just taking it in stride.”
In the three seasons since the Bulls drafted Gibson with their 26th pick in the first round of the 2009 draft, he’s averaging 23.2 minutes a game, shooting 48.5 percent.