This shouldn’t come as too big of a surprise, but the Chicago Bulls and power forward Taj Gibson have not yet reached an agreement on a contract extension and the two sides will likely let the 11pm deadline come and go without making a deal.
Both sides are still $2 million apart on a deal, as the Bulls are willing to give Gibson no more than $8 million per year while Gibson wants no less than $10 million per. Despite the fact that Gibson has said he doesn’t want his contract situation to become a distraction this season, talks of the deal (or non-deal) will no doubt dominate the pregame, in-game and post game discussions during tonight’s season opener against the Kings.
When asked before tonight’s game if he’ll change his mind before the 11pm deal dine, which will likely give him a few hours to think after tonight’s game concludes, Gibson’s reply was quick and final.
“I highly doubt it.” Gibson told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
There is massive risk involved in not signing Gibson long term. If he starts for large portions of this season, as is likely if Carlos Boozer either gets injured or keep sup his current trend of underperforming, then Gibson’s worth will skyrocket.
There’s also the Houston factor. The Rockets no only stole away Omer Asik by giving him way more than he’s worth (thus showing Gibson teams will over pay for you), but they also traded for and maxed out James Harden showing Gibson again, teams will overpay for you and if your current team won’t pay you what you want, someone else will.
With only $2 million separating the two sides, and both standing firm in this contractual stare down, things could get ugly and feelings could get hurt. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that Gibson feels shafted by the Bulls and won’t accept their offer before 11pm. He’s running the risk of suffering an injury, or putting up a poor season which would mean his value would lower in the Bulls eye.
But by not extending him, the Bulls are playing Russian Roulette once again next offseason. Once Gibson hits the restricted market, anyone can offer him a deal and the Bulls would either have to pay up or shut up. The plan back fired with the far less valuable Omer Asik, which if logic is a factor here, Gibson will command much more money.
This isn’t going to be pretty and the Bulls may be spending their last season with Taj Gibson’s services. There’s a lot of time between now and not only the 11pm deadline but the start of the next offseason. But so far, it’s looking like the Bulls will have to either pay Gibson more than he’s worth or let him walk for free.