Chicago Bulls win on the court and win with Gibson extension

The Chicago Bulls, as expected, dispatched the Sacramento Kings in their season opener at the United Center on Halloween. Bulls fans scored a Halloween treat as well when Taj Gibson accepted the Bulls final offer after the game agreeing to a four year extension starting at just over eight million per year with incentives that could push it to nine and a half million per year.

K.C. Johnson with the details on the extension:

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 just over $8 million annually, sources said.

“Pax and Gar stressed they wanted me here a long time,” Gibson said. “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.”

I was hoping the Bulls could sign Gibson for around eight million per season, and they may have done just that. We don’t yet know what incentives are involved in the contract and whether they are likely or unlikely. Since Gibson said the deal was for 38, it would seem they’re more likely than unlikely, but details may emerge later.

Either way, 10 million per season was the maximum I could see the Bulls going for Taj on an extension because the risk/reward of waiting would shift too much if they went above that mark. I do think Taj would make more money as a restricted free agent if he stays healthy and has a solid year, but the extra amount more wouldn’t be significant and an injury could tank his value too.

No reason to pay next year’s rate [probably around 11-12 million per season] a year in advance with the risk involved. Since the most Taj will earn is 9.5 per season, I’d say the Bulls did a nice job of crafting a good deal.

It’s a solid deal for Taj as well. While he may have left 10-15% on the table, he gets to stay with a team he wants to be with and no longer has to worry about what happens if he gets hurt. When faced with taking 32-38 million now or the possibility of 44 million next year but also the possibility of 0-20 million next year, I’d also fold every time and take the guaranteed money. The extra just doesn’t mean so much to quality of life relative to the risk.

Bulls won by outworking the Kings

While the Chicago Bulls won their opener, there are probably more negatives than positives that came out of the game. The Kings, not expected to be any good, hung with the Bulls fairly easily, and Chicago benefited all night long by getting the majority of the questionable calls.

Chicago frequently looked sluggish in the half court, and struggled to defend Tyreke Evans, unable to contain his athleticism for much of the game. The Kings were disjointed, unorganized, and didn’t play team basketball on either end of the floor, but managed to still sit there at the end of the game with a chance to win.

The Bulls used far too many possessions in the inefficient zone, shooting the majority of their shots as mid range jumpers and tough turn around fadeaways in the post. They had few open threes and few attacks at the rim. Their style of play is indicative of what looks to be a poor offense until Derrick Rose returns.

Kirk Hinrich did a solid job running the offense and working the system, but it’s clear he can’t create anything for himself or others, nor could anyone else on the team.

Joakim Noah looks like he wants to make his first all-star team

Joakim played amazing basketball for much of the night. He finished with 23 points, 10 boards, 3 assists, 5 steals, and 3 blocks. That’s filling up the box score. Noah hit most of his field goals on put backs, and open dunks while doing most of his damage from the foul line, knocking down 11 of 12 free throws.

DeMarcus Cousins scored efficiently in terms of field goal percentage (7/14), but Noah forced numerous turnovers to make the Kings offense sputter when going through Cousins.

One of the most surprising aspects of Noah’s night was the 40 minutes played. I don’t recall Noah playing that many minutes frequently, especially given that Mohammed had a very strong preseason and didn’t come into the game and completely screw things up or destroy the team. I don’t expect that trend to continue.

Scapegoats play well

Carlos Boozer and Rip Hamilton have been ripped on by Bulls fans for most of the off-season. Boozer’s been taking a ton of heat ever since signing his contract while Hamilton was expected to come in and at least give the Bulls something at SG while delivering nothing. Both players kicked off the season with a strong first game.

Hamilton knocked down numerous mid range jumpers and made good decisions on the night. He also gave the Bulls 31 minutes without coming up injured, so we can be happy for his start.

Carlos Boozer chipped in 18/8 and managed not to tank the team defensively which was a plus. He scored the first couple of baskets for the Bulls and hit numerous shots when the Bulls needed some points. It does show how far expectations have fallen for Carlos when 18/8 is considered a great game for him while just two seasons ago it was his average.

Luol Deng came up big outside of the scoring

Luol Deng didn’t have it going on offense. He shot just 3/13 from the field, but as the game wound to a close he grabbed numerous offensive rebounds and had a big save of a ball that was flying out of bounds to give the Bulls extra possessions to run out the clock.

Deng’s found ways to contribute in games where he can’t score, but that said, the Bulls need more scoring than seven points in 41 minutes, and he’ll need to knock down some of the open threes he missed in this game.

That said, he made key plays at the end of the game when the Bulls needed it, so while there’s some concern about what he’s able to do overall, he’s still making big contributions.

Kirk Hinrich’s shooting needs to get better

Yes, Thibodeau gushed praise on Hinrich for running the offense well and playing defense, but much like Deng, he needs to hit shots too. The Bulls need more offense than the three points in 31 minutes Kirk provided out of their starting PG. It was exciting to see Kirk Hinrich throw a couple lobs early in the game even if they didn’t work out. The Bulls need to run some more plays in that direction at times.

We also saw Kirk spend a decent amount of time playing SG with Nate Robinson playing PG alongside him. That likely wasn’t an expected look prior to preseason but after Belinelli struggled so much in preseason Robinson earned a greater share of minutes and pushed the Bulls into considering this look more frequently.

Belinelli did his job in short minutes

After a horrendous preseason, Beli didn’t get much of a look in game one, but he did score six in 11 minutes and knocked down his first three, a contested shot out of the corner after Nate Robinson delivered a bounce pass a bit too low.

It was just one play, but it’s the play they need from Belinelli, so it’s a good sign of things to come.

Taj Gibson played some D but not much else

Gibson’s a great shot blocker and a decent rebounder, but he didn’t get much done on offense, and I wonder if seeing 20 minutes of fairly pedestrian action caused him to rethink this whole extension thing. If he’s getting 20 minutes a night and averages 6-7 points and 5-6 boards a game he has to wonder how much extra money is really going to be out there.

All in all, it’s about what we expected

The Bulls outworked their opponent. They struggled to find efficient shots in the half court. They played defense and rebounded. Until Rose returns, expect plenty more of that. Some nights it will be enough, some nights it won’t. For now, the Bulls are 1-0 though, and one game into the season that’s as good as it can get.


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  • In contrast I was pretty happy with the 1st game. The Kings came out actually committed to the defense end and were tied together pretty well. I'm perfectly in agreement with Thibs regarding Hinrich's play. He did exactly what the Bulls need out of the point guard position from a coaching perspective.

    I also disagree that Hinrich and Robinson playing together wasn't an expected look. I'm confident that Robinson's ability to play off the ball in tandem with another point guard wasn't lost on the Bulls coaching staff.

  • In reply to scotter:

    Nate is a scorer...plain and simple. Because the Bulls lack a backup PG right now (Teague isn't ready), Nate is forced into that role.

    The Kings may have came out committed to defense and 'team', but these are the Kings...a bunch of talented but young and immature players thrown together in a melting pot.

  • In reply to scotter:

    I'm not shocked by the Nate + Kirk look, but I would have figured that Belinelli + Hamilton would have been good enough to take all the SG minutes, and that Kirk would be more needed at PG. By playing Kirk + Nate together, it's effectively saying that Nate has beat out Belinelli as a player.

  • Watching Tyreke I had to remind myself that we don't have DRose! LOL He has that extra "Matrix" flash gear and once he gets some room and momentum running at the basket...he is like a freight train!

    I thought Tyreke looked like DROSE as I saw him attack the basket!

    Wow Noah looked awesome and really got under Cousin's skin which was the key as then Cousin's sulks and it throws him off his very dominant game! He will be a All-Star if he can stay focused and as he matures! He has a very nice outside shot, very quick as the made Noah look bad a few times as he went around him and slam dunked!

    All in all we got the win and RIP, Noah, Boozer gave us the points and had good games...Noah especially WOW! :-)

  • In reply to smiley:

    That's why Tyreke garnered some 'Lebron' comparisons in his rookie year, and why I would STILL trade Deng for him and take on a bad contract.

    Tyreke needs a change of scenery. SAC needs to split him and Cousins up. Imagine Tyreke as franchise SG next to Rose. 2 basket attackers.

    Cousins will never live up to his potential unless SAC gets him a proven vet to teach him how to develop as a player and a professional. Or they could just trade him to a team that would do that.

  • In reply to smiley:

    Tyreke's certainly got skills, but too much of a 'me' player and hasn't ever successfully melded into a team guy.

  • Between Captain Klank and Loul (wrist is an issue they are complete fools for ignoring it!) we are going to be getting like 80 minutes and 10-15 pts a night combined... Hope Rip Doesn't go down because add Jimmy Butler to the heavy minute rotation and we might be struggling to hit 50 as a team! Yuck we are back to the Paxson specials pre Rose bulls teams. Who needs to score when you can add more defense?

    Everyone knew Kirk couldn't create for anyone or shoot I still don't understand the signing as their justification is he can play SG too when Rose is back. But he can't shoot so why would we want to have him playing Shooting Guard???

  • In reply to Chad:

    Even with the wrist, Deng will still average 16-18 points per game. Personally, I think Nate will need some more minutes over the course of the season as he brings great energy off the bench and is one of the few players on the roster that isn't afraid to drive to the hoop.

  • In reply to Motoman:

    Yeah because he becomes a volume chucker shooting sub 40% to get his stats.

    All I am saying is they are complete idiots to not have let Deng miss some time early in the season so we could have him at 100%. Instead we have a guy struggling with his shooting trying to be the guy on offense with Rose out. Recipe for disaster.

    This is a classic Paxson team.

  • In reply to Chad:

    Nate is a career .425 FG% and .354 3pt%, so you would be wrong there.

    But I agree with Deng. They should have told him to get the surgery. And please (not you, fans in general) don't believe the PR machine when GarPax/Bulls tell you they wanted Deng to get the surgery and it was all Deng's decision.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    I think Chad was referring to Deng as the sub 40% chucker due to his wrist, but I may be wrong.

    And I completely agree about the bulls management and their handling of Deng's injury. Deng very well should have had the offseason surgery (even after the Olympics were over).

  • In reply to Chad:

    Deng didn't want surgery.

    It's not the Bulls being complete idiots. Deng says his wrist is fine and doesn't know if he'll ever require surgery.

  • In reply to Chad:

    I agree that the justification of him playing SG is sort of meaningless to me. He doesn't add much value there.

  • I'm very happy Taj agreed to the 4 year deal! It is a good contract for him and he did leave $ on the table this summer going to another team but he is in our core now and him and Jo are true bros! Very blue collar lunch pail and hard hat as Stacey likes to say! :-)

    We sure could use a spark plug off the bench scorer like Thornton, OJ Mayo, Ben Gordon, type! We are going to have to out work teams and play unbelievable defense to stay in the game and go down to the wire without Rose! Even with Rose back we need another dependable scorer or 2 to be in serious contention!
    Darn Heat with getting Ray Allen they are a perenial champion! Lakers and OKC have a chance too as does Celtics in the East!

  • In reply to smiley:

    Would love to get Thornton, but I don't think SAC is going to give him up.

    Mayo could be had, but he's best as a starter.

    Gordon costs too much because he would have been great. BG could have been had too, and we could have gotten a 1stRounder from DET to take him (like CHA got).

  • In reply to smiley:

    AGree, we need a spark plug type scorer. Nate Robinson is our version of that, but he's not a particularly good one.

  • Does Boozer see the writing on the wall? No one pays 8 million for a back up.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    PHI did with Thaddeus Young.
    SAC did with Marcus Thornton.

    Those are off the top of my head.

    But nonetheless, Boozer's days are numbered.

  • In reply to pinkizdead:

    If you replace back up with 6th man, lots of guys make that money.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I am not sure that Taj qualifies as a true 6th man. Most, if not all 6th men are the primary scorer off the bench, that will never be Taj.

    I like Taj as much as anybody, glad that we retained him, but he is overpaid for what he does/is, which hurts our long term flexibility. He is by far the best defensive player from the 2009 class to receive an extension, but he is also by far the worst offensive player.

    In order to keep Taj at this number, both Bozo and Deng have to go and be replaced by legitimate wing scorers of at least the Hardin caliber.

    I have to believe that this almost guarantees that Bozo will be amnestitized next summer.

    The Bulls are now at nearly $80 million guaranteed for next year($75 if they buy out or trade Rip) for 8 guys(sans Rip).

    If we dump Rip but keep Bozo, the minimum payroll will be $95 million($80 in actual salaries plus $15 million in tax).

    Even if they amnestitize Bozo next summer they will remain over the cap meaning they will only have the MLE to replace both Hamilton and Boozer(as well as Asik and the entire bench mob).

    We really don't have much to look forward to over the next 2 seasons other than thinning out our roster to create cap space for 2014.(We've basically become the Pacers or Hawks) even with Rose

    We really are looking at 2014 as the first chance to significantly upgrade our talent when we will have only 6 guys under contract, Rose, Noah and Taj, plus Butler, Teague and next years #1 at about $44 million.

    Which would give us room for a max player if we don't blow any long term money in the summer of 2013. and we still have to plan for cap space to lure Mirotic over. The Bulls really have to come to grips with trading Deng for a #1 pick sometime before the trade deadline in 2014.

    As much as I desperately wanted to keep Asik, his 2014 salary would have completely eliminated our max cap room that summer, so it simply wasn't feasible do to the poison pill provision(Bulls screwed by the new CBA, again and again).

    Clearing cap space has never worked for us in the past, but it seems like we have no choice but to try it one more time in 2014.

    Other than boredom, I can't see any great reason to buy the League Pass this season.

  • The offense looked hinrich ugly at times and you don't want to be a jumpshooting team that can't shoot, especially during crunchtime. It was a good win but does expose this team for not having the interior defense or great 3 point shooting it once had.

    I don't think they get rid of Boozer next summer, they keep him one more season after this....what really gets hit is the shooting guard money and they are dead serious about hinrich(who can't score) as the starting two guard while getting rid of both Rip and Belinelli.....I guess our only hope would be a Vince Carter or some other washed up vet playing for the minimum and contributing nate robinson style. Mediocrity here we come, brick'em away !!!

  • In reply to Defense-Rebound13:

    Agree 100% with keeping Boozer because Reinsdorf does not want to pay Boozer millions to play for another team.

    If there is a sacrifice, it might be Deng, who would be an expiring contract AND has value.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    we'll see how he looks but a Deng to TOR for Ross does sound good or to GS for Harrison Barnes. they paid DeRozen 4/42 and what better compliment to DeRozan but a battle tested vet like Deng.

    Now that the Gibson situation has settled, we have the Deng situation and his expiring contract. If he is willing to sign for 4/40 but if he wants more.....time to trade. I would love to go for a youth movement but Thibodeau hates young players, if he could get away with it, he would play all 35 year olds because like Keith Bogans, "they play the right way" and "do your job"

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    It will cost him $32.1 million to amnesty Bozo, spread out over 5 years, I believe.

    With Gibson's new deal kicking in It will cost him between $30 to $37.5 million next year just to keep Bozo for the 13-14 season as the Bulls will be at between $10 to $15 million into the tax depending on how they fill out the roster.

    So next summer is essentially the break even point on the total dollars involved in amnestitizing Bozo, with the annual cash flow in favor of amnesty.

    As much as it might chap his ass to pay Bozo for not playing, even Reiny can do that basic math problem and come up with the obvious answer.

    The only other way to get out of the tax, is as you suggested to trade Deng(for zero incoming salary). This might actually be doable next summer as there will be a dozen or so teams with max cap room and very few max free agents available.

    The big question is does anybody think that Deng is worth over $14 million as an expiring contract and will they give us a #1 pick in return.

    If they amnestitize Bozo next summer they can stay under the tax and sign a 1 year full MLE(or just keep Rip), while setting themselves up for full max cap room in the summer of 2014 when Deng expires.

  • Last night was revealing. Where are the usual suspects or haters? Where are Juiceboxjerry, Chad and Edward who make a living trolling between the two Bulls blogs spewing a lot of Noah hate?
    I went to the other blog after watching the game last night and was happy to see that apart from Sports2 some sanity still prevails.
    I want to give the host of the neighboring show a big THANK YOU for being a good journalist and giving Noah his due. DougThonus, you were way ahead because you predicted big things for Noah this season.

    And it was a big night for Noah. It could have gone bad as it has happened to the best on opening night of a big and crucial season.
    Mike from Illinois came up with a revealing stat which speaks volumes because Noah found himself, on performance, bringing back memories of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippin. Also complimentary were Jay Pratt, SidM, DRose01 and Piccolomair. Tim s. had the most telling remark ... "Isn't it great to have a center who's so good at free throws that the team wants him to be fouled in the closing seconds." My mind immediatley flashed to the bodybuilder (Dwight Howard) who in his Lakers debut had three makes and 14 misses from the line in a Lakers loss at home.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Are you seriously suggesting Noah is better than Dwight?

    In that 'loss', Dwight STILL got 19pts-10rbs-2asts-1blk...all in his first meaningful game after what 7-8months off?

    And then he follows up that game with 33pts-14rbs-5asts-1blk-1stl in POR.

    So ease up on the comparisons.

  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Idiot, nobody is comparing the two, one is muscle and the other is brains and finesse. Two different players. I like how people like you love a player not a Bull and are quick to defend him when one places bare facts in front of you. Guess what? In the game where he had those impressive stats, they lost! They are now 0-2. Their opening loss was at home!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    You just said you aren't comparing the 2, and then you do it again.

    I like players that are great. I don't jock-sniff players just because they have 'Chicago' across the chest.

    I love Noah, but I would trade him for Dwight in a second.

    I'm indifferent about Rip, but I would trade him for Wade or Kobe in a second.

    I like Deng, but I would trade him for Lebron or Durant in a second.

    So before when you were criticizing Dwight's Free Throws, it was all about the stats, but now that I bring up his statline from the overall game, it doesn't matter because they lost.


  • In reply to YouBlewwIt:

    Also dummy, the Lakers lost at home to a Dally Mavericks team that hadn't their number one big man, Dirk Norwitzki so get your brain fixed and those flattering stats by Dwight Howard put in their right place.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    So again, according to you, Dwight's stats matter when you make your argument about Dwight being bad.

    But Dwight's stats DON'T matter when I (and 99% the rest of the NBA world...1% being trolls...i.e. you) make the argument Dwight is good.

    Thanks for contradicting yourself you moron.

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    The free throw thing is true. Noah's become a very reliable foul shooter.

    I'd still trade him for Dwight Howard, but Noah's probably a top five center in the NBA and is on a nice contract relative to his abilities.

  • Noah had a great game but doesn't have the size or skill of Dwight! That guy is a once in a decade or more player and the darn Lakers got him...big surprise since they got Gasol for scrubs a few years ago too!

    Tyreke is amazing to watch and OMG him and Rose teamed up! WOW watch the show! Only 1 basketball tho! LOL
    Well the Heat has Lebron and Wade and Bosh playing together on the 1st unit! :-)

    With signing Taj we have leverage to amnisty jump shooter Boozer now! I agree Rinny probably wouldn't do it to wash his "not earned big money" from the Jordan years down the toilet that way but heah we can dream of a better day when we have $ and can build a championship worthy team....not the current team that Rose has to carry around pretty much by himself!

  • In reply to smiley:

    I'll bow to you on the fact that Howard lives in a gym and is built like a MR. UNIVERSE, but you disqualify yourself when you say that Noah can't compare to him in terms of SKILL. Are you MAD! Noah's skill sets him apart as a big man. Skill is not being able to break a backboard when slamming a ball through the hoop! By the way, both of them are listed as 6 ft. 11 inches tall. In fact, it's known that Noah is a seven-footer, despite the measurement listed.

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    Overall, I liked the article, but I have a couple of dissenting opinions. You stated that there was no one o the team that could create open shots or 3's for others and I disagree. I saw wide open threes and layups come from one player, Nate Robinson. He had the explosiveness to go to the hole at will and found the open man a lot. He even finished while drawing contact, which is impressive for a man of his size. He's strong. I actually liked the offense much better with him in the game.

    In regards to Rip Hamilton, I think he shot well and did a good job of coming of screens to hid mid-range jumpes (his specialty), but he did't make great decisions in the passing game. He had numerous lazy passes that lead to fastbreaks by the Kings. The same goes for Kirk. I love Kirk, but he looked sluggish and made some lazy passes. Hopefully, it was just tired legs and injury related. He loked better in the preseason

  • In reply to Brooks Henderson:

    We're in big trouble if we have tired legs on opening day. I thought it was funny when Stacey King mentioned the tired legs thing.

  • The Gibson news a lot more important than beating the Kings really.

    I think 38 million for Taj slips out of the zone where I feel good about the deal and it becomes only OK. I wouldn't have minded if they played hard(-en) ball and looked at a trade if he wouldn't take a flat 8 million per for 4 years, but maybe they did and the offers just weren't there.

    It's not a terrible deal though, I just don't see it as a really good one if the Bulls maintain their luxury tax avoidance stance. I'd be shocked if he's still a Bull at the end of it, but so long as the plan with the extension was just to lock up an asset to trade at a later date then it's alright I guess.

  • I might be in the minority, but I don't think committing $32-38 million to a non-scorer is a smart way to manage your salary cap. The Bulls have way too many players on their roster who aren't scorers. The offensive effort last night was wretched.

    And GarPax needs to trade Captain Klank to Milwaukee before it's too late. He was God awful, but that is nothing new.

  • In reply to Vic Nardozza:

    Eh, I think interior defense is nearly as important as offense, and Taj is an outstanding interior defender.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    I think that being an outstanding defender needs an asterix next to it until we see him this year. He's been great when playing next to other outstanding interior defenders like Noah & Asik. I'd like to see how he does when forced to share significant minutes with Boozer every night before saying he's outstanding.

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    to be(defense) or not to be(offense), that is the $38 million question.

  • The Bulls "D" was good. Their rebounding was excellent. They shared the ball nicely. But if they shoot like this against a Boston, Miami etc. they will get blown away. They need outside shooting in the worst way. Watching Captain Klank made me flash back to the Ben Wallace days when nobody could shoot. Did Gar-Pax suffer from amnesia? Kirk is not a starter in this league. But for some stupid reason Bulls management believes he is. They better get a 2-guard who can shoot the ball. BTW, Pippen says Bulls only win 40 this season. That puts them at a 7 or 8 seed.

  • In reply to AlgernonHPenn:

    You take Pippen's opinion seriously? He was a great player, period. Nothing else!

  • In reply to SlamDunk:

    Well let's put it like this, 6 championships, Olympic Gold, 7 All-Star teams, 1 All Star MVP, Multiple All Defensive teams, etc. That's not to say his word is gospel. But it does say that he trying to tell people to stop smoking dope about this Bulls team and realize that it has some major flaws and may be average at best. The Bulls are very far from an NBA Championship with or without D-Rose...Yes I do take his opinion seriously. I know that he has a great NBA mind. Just ask anybody in the league who's been around awhile.

  • In reply to AlgernonHPenn:

    All that don't mean a thing where evaluation of players and the game are concerned. Remember a guy named Michael Jordan.

  • AlgernonHPenn, I hope you have a good rest and dream about how you will respond to what I've just said. You're probably one of those little clowns who've just started watching the game and is all starry-eyed about names. Pippen was a great player, but in terms of judgement about players and the game, he's been all over the place. In other words, he's stupid and his opinion shouldn't be taken as gospel!

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