The speculation is finally over.
On Wednesday, the Chicago Bulls agreed to a new contract extension with Taj Gibson. The deal was crucial, as failure to complete a deal by October 31st would have resulted in Gibson becoming a free agent, and likely pricing himself to the point where the Bulls would be unable to bring him back.
The deal is for four years and $38 million, which is actually better than expected. Initially, a deal didn’t look like it was going to get done. It went down to the wire, and even Gibson wasn’t expecting it.
But the crisis has been averted, and Gibson is in for the long haul. That type of money establishes Gibson as a part of the core of this team. This season could see him as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, but what the future holds for Gibson is a bit bigger of a question. Much of it will depend on the future of Carlos Boozer.
It’s highly unlikely Boozer finishes his contract out with the Bulls. Whether it’s through trade or through amnesty, Boozer will find his way out. That’s not only due to the fact that he’s extremely overpriced for what he brings to the court, especially defensively, Gibson is now locked into the fold for the future.
Gibson has improved every season he’s been with the Bulls. As his career continues and Gibson develops, he’s looking more and more like a guy who could be a legitimate power forward with starting minutes for this team. He’s performed very well in a limited role, and it will be interesting to watch him make that imminent transition to a starting spot, whenever Boozer finds his way out of Chicago.
The thing about Gibson is that he’s not only capable of performing at a very high level down in that power forward spot, but he’s versatile. He can guard anyone on the court. A guy with that type of versatility and the intensity that he possesses made this an easy decision for the Bulls. And it was absolutely the correct one to make.