CHICAGO – Taj Gibson tried to answer the first question with a straight face, and failed miserably. Four or five words in, his smile broke through the clouds and spread ear to ear.
From there, the Chicago Bulls forward’s expression told the tale. While he dressed after is team’s 93-87 victory over Sacramento Wednesday at United Center, his agent, Mark Bartelstein, was upstairs with Bulls management. The business at hand: Crossing T’s and dotting I’s on a four-year contract extension worth $38 million, about 50 minutes before the NBA deadline for such deals.
“This is where I want to be,” Gibson said. “Both sides just came together and got it done.”
He added: “I didn’t want to go through [the season without a deal]. To turn down, that’s a lot of money. Especially for the security. I’m relieved.”
Four hours earlier, Gibson looked despondent. The gap in the negotiations was too great, and the fourth-year forward from USC doubted whether it would get done at all. It nagged at him a little as he played — four blocked shots but modest otherwise, with four points and five rebounds in 19 minutes. Then the horn blew, the Bulls won and Gibson knew that the 11 p.m. CT cutoff was fast approaching. (more…)