Bulls’ Taj Gibson has change of heart and inks four-year, $32 million deal
BY JOE COWLEY firstname.lastname@example.org October 31, 2012 11:02PM
Chicago Bulls power forward Taj Gibson (22) challenges a shot by Sacramento Kings point guard Tyreke Evans (13) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in Chicago. The Bulls won 93-87. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Updated: November 5, 2012 11:40PM
Call it Taj Gibson’s best rebound of the night.
After walking away from what appeared to be the final offer from the Bulls for a contract extension with the Wednesday night deadline approaching, Gibson had a change of heart, inking a four-year deal believed to be in the neighborhood of $32 million, just minutes after a 93-87 win over the Sacramento Kings.
Before the game, Gibson and his agent Mark Bartelstein not only seemed to have a line drawn in the sand, but seemed to have their minds made up on taking their chances in the 6-foot-9 forward becoming a restricted free agent this summer.
“I highly doubt it,’’ Gibson replied, when asked in the pregame if there was going to be a change of heart. “That’s the way I see it. Just got to put it behind me, move forward, try to win games.’’
But coming into the locker room after the win, there were Bulls general manager Gar Foreman and VP of Basketball Operations John Paxson waiting to talk to Gibson once again.
While the money didn’t change, according to Gibson, some of the language in the deal did.
“I just thought about it, but basically it was Paxson and Gar just stressing to me that I really want to be here for a long time,’’ Gibson explained. “It kind of dawned on me that I don’t want to be a selfish player, I just want to get what’s fair. I looked at the numbers, and that’s a lot of money. I couldn’t turn down that much money, especially for the security, you never know what can happen throughout the year.
“My agent was great. He talked to me like he was my father and I asked him, ‘What do you think we should do?’ It’s hard. In this position people can say, ‘You’re crazy,’ ‘You shouldn’t have taken that money,’ but being in this position it’s hard to turn down that much money knowing you have to go through a whole season without injuries knowing what you have to do, and having that chip on your shoulder night in and night out, because you never know what can happen.’’