Hours after the Bulls' regular-season opener is over, another Halloween subplot will reach its conclusion. The looming deadline for the organization to reach an agreement for a long-term contract extension with Taj Gibson is 11 p.m. Central, or just after the fourth-year power forward and his teammates will have filed out of the United Center.
By then, Gibson will have an idea of whether his primary motivation, aside from helping the Bulls have a successful season, will be to prove to the Bulls and other teams around the league that he's worthy of a contract approaching the eight-figure range next summer or showing the team that selected him 26th overall back in 2009 that he was indeed worthy of them rewarding him with a new deal.
While the Bulls remain hopeful Gibson will accept an offer prior to Wednesday night's deadline, according to a person familiar with the situation, the two sides still had some ground to make up as of Tuesday evening. If Gibson isn't locked up, the Bulls expect to match competing offers from opposing teams in the event that he hits the open market as a restricted free agent.
Unlike the departed Omer Asik, a second-round draft pick, teams won't be able to use a "poison pill" against the Bulls, but with a strong season, it wouldn't be shocking to see Gibson presented with an offer sheet that the Bulls find unreasonable. The underrated Gibson is highly regarded around the league and raised his profile with his stint with the USA Select Team in Las Vegas over the summer, practicing against the eventual Olympic gold-medal winners, and according to a source, the likes of San Antonio and Orlando, along with his hometown Knicks and Nets, would be potential suitors.
Apart from Gibson, the one other early-season transaction the Bulls are monitoring is acquiring a minimum-salary contract when they have the cap space to add a 14th player next month. Veteran wings such as recently-waived Quentin Richardson, a Chicago native, are among those under consideration, a league source told CSNChicago.com, but the Bulls also have the option of waiting until later in the season and signing two players if an addition doesn't seem necessary early on in the campaign.