Chicago Bulls PF Taj Gibson hopes to reach extension

Kevork Djansezian

Taj Gibson and the Chicago Bulls are engaged in talks about a contract extension, but the deadline for a deal is rapidly approaching.

The Chicago Bulls and power forward Taj Gibson are engaged in talks regarding a long-term contract extension, according to Gibson's agent, Mark Bartelstein.

Gibson signed his three-year rookie contract in 2009 when the Bulls selected him with the No. 26 overall pick, and now he is eligible to receive an extension if the two sides can reach an agreement before the Oct. 31 deadline.

If no deal is consummated, Gibson would become a restricted free agent after the season ends and other teams could sign him to an offer sheet that the Bulls would then have the option to match. The restricted free agency process should be both familiar and frightening to Bulls fans. During the offseason the team was forced to part ways with RFA Omer Asik when the Houston Rockets signed Asik to an aggressive offer sheet and the Bulls declined to match the three-year, $25.1 million deal.

Asik's departure led Chicago to dismantle the Bench Mob that had been so successful with Tom Thibodeau. When they let go of Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Watson, Omer Asik and John Lucas III, and then traded away Kyle Korver, everyone believe the Bulls were saving some money for an eventual Gibson extension. The replacement bench players -- Nazr Mohammed, Marco Belinelli, and Nate Robinson -- don't exactly fill the voids on their own.

Gibson is 27 years old and entering his prime, so a deal isn't expected to be cheap. Estimates range anywhere from $8-10 million annually on an extension, so it's a big decision for the franchise. Gibson is certainly saying all the right things.

"I'm hopeful. I'm always hopeful," Gibson told ESPN Chicago regarding the possibility of an extension before the deadline. "This is where I want to stay, this is where I hopefully want to retire one day. So we'll have to wait and see."

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