Taj Gibson agrees to 4-year, $32m ($38m with incentives) contract extension

Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE

extension starts after this coming season

[Note by your friendly BullsBlogger, 10/31/12 11:16 PM CDT: scrapped initial story with tweets (and $38m figure) and replaced with the more up-to-date KC Johnson article.]

Things didn't look good heading into the game Wednesday night, but it turned around after the Bulls victory:

With general manager Gar Forman, executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and Mark Bartelstein, Gibson's Chicago-based agent, working throughout the game, a deal just beat the 10:59 p.m. deadline.

"This is where I want to be," Gibson said. "I feel relief."

Gibson said the extension, which runs through the 2016-17 season, is for four years and $38 million. But two sources said numerous incentives would need to be reached for the package to hit that number. The base pay averages $8 million annually, sources said.

(emphasis mine)

And then, what I like to call: Taj Gibson over-endearing quote theater:

"It dawned on me I didn't want to be a selfish player. I wanted to get what's fair. It's a lot of money. I can't really turn it down, especially for the security. You never know what can happen during the year. At any given moment, I could pull a groin or hurt my knee."

Gibson said Bartelstein told him he likely could earn more as a restricted free agent next summer "but you could end up playing in some hellhole."

"It probably would have been on my mind if I turned it down," Gibson said. "Now I get to compete on a solid team in a great organization."

And that's how the extension game works, with the Bulls playing it very well.

The initial reports of a base $38m salary suggested the Bulls got a solid discount, and this is even better in what they potentially save themselves from what Taj likely would've gotten in the open market. With the best part, of course, being they don't risk losing him.

$8m is still substantial for a team with four >$10m players already on the books for next season, and given the Bulls history with team payroll it may cause another domino to fall next offseason. But this is certainly a better (and more flexible!) situation than the uncertainty of letting a quality defensive big-man in his prime into restricted free agency.

After the offseason from hell which saw many assets (and opportunities) gone for nothing, the Bulls at least stopped the hemorrhaging with this sound move. And as it seems like one can tell from Taj's words, it couldn't have happened to a better professional and teammate.

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