Report: Bulls to start contract extension talks with Taj Gibson

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The Bulls still have to fill out the edges of their roster for next season — do they match the offer sheet for Omer Asik? Who can help back up at the point guard spot? — but once they get past that, they want to get back to focusing on their core.

They want to talk long-term deal with Taj Gibson, reports Aggrey Sam at CSNChicago.com.

Gibson, who will be a free agent following next season, is highly coveted around the league, but the Bulls believe he fits into their future plans, so in the fashion of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, there is hope that a deal can be reached prior to the beginning of the regular season.

Gibson stepped up his game last year in his third season, although he averaged just 7.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game he became more efficient doing it. Also, he’s a good defender at multiple positions. He’s entering his fourth year in the league but is older at age 27, he’s going to want to get paid now.

It’s hard to see the Bulls matching the Asik offer sheet then trying to talk long-term deal with Gibson. The Bulls have been shopping Rip Hamilton around this summer and they might amnesty Carlos Boozer next year. As Sam points out, maybe the biggest question will be whether to start talking new deal with Luol Deng next year, and what is the price tag there? Is it too steep for a team that avoids the luxury tax? If Deng leaves will the Bulls have some space to bring in another star player?

Lots of questions. Do any of the answers have you saying, “This team will do what it takes to win an NBA title?”

Jeopardy uses “crying Jordan” meme for question

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You know a meme has jumped the shark when it appears on Jeopardy. (Also, the phrase “jump the shark” has jumped the shark.)

The “crying Jordan” meme reached that level this week when Alex Trebek asked a question about it.

This in no way means we should stop using the crying Jordan meme — even if it bothers MJ himself, and it does — because it’s still funny.

Charles Barkley on new schedule: “These poor babies can’t play back-to-back games”

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Training camp hasn’t even opened yet, but Charles Barkley is already in midseason “get off my lawn” form.

Barkley — the man who can’t stand jump shooting teams, or analytics, or LeBron James asking for better players, or your newfangled technology — went off on another tedious rant at an SMU event Wednesday, this time about the NBA’s decision to start the season a little earlier and have fewer back-to-backs and eliminate four-games-in-five-nights.

Ugh. Like a lot of former players — and a lot of non-athletes, for that matter — Barkley is convinced his peak as a player coincided with the greatest era of basketball ever. Things were never better than the way they did it in his day.

Which means facts — like pointing to the studies that show players both are less likely to be injured and play better and more efficiently when rested — don’t matter. Barkley did it, so players now should have to do it. Who cares if all these packed in games can shorten their careers?

Then again, maybe a few days off would have helped Barkley in the second half of his career.

B.J. Armstrong, former Jordan-era Bull turned agent, told me last year that if teams and players knew in his day what they know now about rest and injury, you would have seen stars like MJ rest. Over time we learn more information, and the smart people and organizations adjust.

Barkley will make far more headlines over the course of the season, he gets paid to be brash, say whatever pops into head, and be generally draw attention to himself. It makes him entertaining, and that’s what Inside the NBA is about. But I will defer to Steve Kerr’s comments from last playoffs on all these old “get off my lawn” players.

“The game gets worse as time goes on. Players are less talented than they used to be. The guys in the 50s would’ve destroyed everybody. It’s weird how human evolution goes in reverse in sports. Players get weaker, smaller, less skilled. I don’t know. I can’t explain it.”

For a couple grand, Warriors fans can have Larry O’Brien Trophy visit their suite

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There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.

If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).

Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.

Sixers new “Spirit of 76” court is fire

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First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.

Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).

The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.

Here is the promo vid

I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.