Taj Gibson has made it clear this off-season that he wants a more prominent role for the Chicago Bulls and that he is ready to become a big time contributor off the bench. So why is he still battling to get a contract extension? The Bulls organization would be out of their minds to let Gibson walk away especially given his age, ability and attitude towards the game.
Gibson entered the NBA in 2009 where he was drafted 26th overall and was named the starter at the power forward position. His tenacious defense coupled with his shot blocking ability, and aggressive all around play led him to be named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
Over the summer, the Bulls signed Carlos Boozer and moved Gibson to the bench where he became a big piece to Chicago’s bench mob.
The bench mob was split apart this summer, but Gibson remained and has made it clear that he is ready to step up and play a bigger role for the Bulls saying that he wants to spend his career in Chicago. However, if Chicago doesn’t extend his contract, then everything he offers or could offer the team won’t happen.
So what does he offer Chicago?
When the bench mob split apart, one of the biggest dismissals was Omar Asik who went to the Houston Rockets, with Asik gone, Gibson becomes the back-up center for Joakim Noah, but he is much more than that. Gibson is a 6’9 versatile player who has the strength to play the center position but he is more suitable for the power forward position, either way, he comes off the bench as a sixth-man.
His length and the work he has put in over the summer in his low-post game makes him become more than just a sixth-man, it makes him another weapon that the Bulls can use to open up shots outside of the paint as well as open up the lane for easier penetration.
Coach Tom Thibodeau wants Gibson to work on his low post game and Gibson has accepted that challenge by spending the summer practicing a “low-post mentality,” practicing back-to-the-basket moves, turn around jumpers, back-down moves and ball handling. The work he is putting in can easily pay off for the Bulls when Boozer sits down.
Gibson played a significant role last season as part of the bench mob but he only averaged 7.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, he has lobbied for a bigger role on the team and this season he should expect it.
His role of the sixth-man will allow him to run the floor for longer periods of time and really utilize his strengths on both sides of the floor which will lead to higher numbers and another effective offensive and defensive player.
Chicago’s front office has until October 31st–the day after their first regular season game-to extend Gibson’s contract or else he will enter the off-season as a restricted free agent and could possibly sign somewhere else.
With what Gibson has offered this team so far in his career and what he can offer them going forward, it should not be a tough decision to give him a contract extension.