Nick Friedell caught up with Taj Gibson who dropped a couple interesting notes for Bulls fans. The first is that he's overly enthusiastic about remaining in Chicago, and the second is that Derrick's physical therapy is ahead of schedule so far.
"Really, it doesn't matter (when it happens)," Gibson told ESPNChicago.com Thursday afternoon. "I told (general manager) Gar (Forman) and (vice president John Paxson) how committed I am to just being with the Bulls. It's not a thought in my head to leave Chicago because I love playing for the Bulls.
"I love wearing the Bulls logo across my chest. So that's the last thing I'm thinking about right now. Right now, I'm just thinking about next year. Just come in and figure out how I can try to help the team better and just let the chips fall in place. A lot of guys tend to worry about that stuff, but I know I have a good agent in Mark Bartelstein and I have a lot of faith in what he does and I know I have a lot of faith in the Bulls organization so I'm just relaxing and practicing.
"I believe my future is here. Either mid-July or next year (for an extension), just have to be patient and just wait and see."
I notice that every player is always really optimistic prior to actually getting into the negotiation process. Once the process begins, things tend to get a lot more pessimistic. I suppose that goes with the territory as both sides typically start fairly far apart in an attempt to meet in the middle.
What is Taj Gibson worth on an extension? If I'm Chicago, I try and lock him up at a five year MLE deal (or maybe a bit above). I think its probably about as much as he can expect to get in the FA market, but he'd get the extra year if he stays here. However, I could easily see Taj thinking that he's worth 10 million a season and scoffing at such an offer.
Do you pay Taj seven million? eight million? I don't think either side gets an extension done this season because they both have the ability to wait another year, and Taj will be restricted next summer.
Taj also noted that his ankle still isn't healed:
"I'm still rehabbing," Gibson said. "The ankle injury on my right (ankle) was pretty good. I turned it pretty good. I'm still taking it one day at a time. I'm still trying to rehab, rest my legs, because I'm off to another serious training camp at the beginning of July so I'm just taking it one day at a time."
The fact that Taj is still rehabbing his ankle shows just how serious it was and how much of a workhorse that he is that he continued to play through it at a such a high level. When we look back at how many injuries the Bulls were dealing with last year in the playoffs its fairly incredible.
C.J. Watson had a surgical procedure on his feet done after the season. Korver was still in a walking boot a month after the season, and Gibson's ankle still hasn't recovered. This on top of Rose/Noah who were simply out with injuries to severe to play through. The Bulls couldn't catch a break healthwise beyond even the guys we know who were bad.
Taj quotes on Rose:
"I've been rehabbing the same time he rehabs. It's been going great from what I see," Gibson said. "He's pushing his leg to the limit. He's getting stronger. (The trainers) said he's ahead of schedule already and I think he's going to come back better and stronger than he ever was ...
"He seems great. I talk to him (about the) same stuff, laugh, giggle, we joke a lot in there. But at the same time it's business, because he's working on getting his leg back to (full) strength. But he's the same old Derrick, not a step behind."
Obviously its great that Rose is in the gym working hard and that the trainers say he's "ahead of schedule". Who knows what that really means at this point? The earliest recovery time period for an ACL to get back on the court is probably around six months.
If things went absolutely perfectly with Rose, and he hit a six month target, then he'd be back near the start of the regular season. I'd be very wary of pushing him that hard. The NBA season is a grind, and even if the ACL is healed, you can't really build up strength in the muscle while playing an NBA season. You are wearing it down and wearing it down hard.
If the Bulls do bring him back that early, they really need to make sure his legs are testing out strong enough and do some biomechanical tests to ensure he's not over compensating on either side of the body.
Either way, it's a minor note, and players tend to be overly optimistic about such things so who knows how much we can really take from it, but it's certainly better than a 'no comment', 'things are on schedule', or 'it will take time' etc..