Taj Gibson agreed to a 4-year, $38 million contract extension with the Chicago Bulls, just before the NBA deadline last Wednesday night.
Gibson broke the news following a season-opening win over Sacramento, after emerging from a meeting with executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and GM Gar Forman. The new deal kicks in after the season, and it locks in one of Chicago’s key players for the long term.
”Just having Gar and Pax come in there and say, ‘We want you here for a long time,’ brought tears to my eyes because I said I wanted to be here for a long time,” Gibson said. ”I want to retire here. It was great.”
It was a surprising reversal considering Gibson said before the game that he was turning down Bulls’ offer and didn’t expect an agreement.
The sides had till 10:59 p.m. To reach an agreement and they worked it out nicely timed. Otherwise, Gibson would have become a restricted free agent after the season, meaning the Bulls would’ve had the right to match any offer he received.
So what changed? Paxson and Forman stressing after the game just how much they wished to get the deal done helped. Having some time to think about it did, as well.
”I told them I don’t want to be a selfish player, I just wish to get what’s fair,” Gibson said. ”I looked at the numbers. It’s a lot of money. I can’t truly turn down that much money, especially for the security. You never know what can occur through the year.”
Derrick Rose tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the playoffs last season also weighed on Gibson’s mind.
”Knowing that at any particular moment I’m able to pull a groin, I can hurt my knee,” Gibson announced. ”Having that security and knowing that is going to be there no matter what, that was the main thing. I had no desire to go out there and basically just get hurt.”
A first-round pick out of Southern California in 2009, Gibson is entering his 4th season. He has averaged 7.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in his career.
”Taj has proved to be a key member of our team and we are very pleased to have reached a contract with him,” Forman announced in a statement. ”We look forward to him (continuing) to develop his game and we are satisfied that Taj will be a Bull long term.”
Gibson, 27 years old, has appeared in 225 (89 starts) and averaged 7.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
“I’m very happy that I am going to remain a Bull for the long haul,” Gibson expounded in a statement. “The Bulls are like my second family and I’m excited to know that I am going to continue to wear ‘Bulls’ across my chest.”
A league source said Gibson’s deal is essentially for $34 million warranted, and with different escalators, the amount could reach $39 million in the next 4 years. Football scores