The deadline is one week from today — either teams reach terms on a contract extension with players from the draft class of 2009 or said players become restricted free agents next summer. A deal gets struck by Halloween or other teams can make a run at the guy next July.
There are some interesting questions out there for teams — would you extend James Harden? What about Stephen Curry? — but none may be as intriguing as what the Bulls will do with Taj Gibson.
The notoriously stingy Bulls see Gibson as part of the long-term future with Derrick Rose. That is the long-term. But if they pay Gibson they need him to step up because it almost ensures they have to amnesty Carlos Boozer next summer (unless they want to pay some healthy luxury taxes, and there is no way Jerry Reinsdorf does that).
ESPN’s Marc Stein thinks a deal gets done (hat tip Hoopshype).
Which is why many rival teams expect the Bulls to have Gibson signed to a new deal by month’s end, even though Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is seemingly never in a rush to do extensions.
The high dollars and luxury-tax implications are such in James Harden’s case that it wouldn’t totally shock the world if the parties reach November without a deal … but no deal in Gibson’s case would expose the Bulls to the same conditions that made it possible for Houston to pilfer Omer Asik in restricted free agency this past July. Which is something Chicago really can’t afford. Extending Gibson now and cutting ties with Carlos Boozer later via the amnesty clause, sources say, is still the most likely outcome here.
The Bulls are clearly looking long term with their roster moves — there are a lot of expiring contracts for the summer of 2014 that with Boozer gone (and Deng in) could allow the Bulls to make some runs at free agents. The Bulls see a lineup with Rose, Gibson and Joakim Noah as a group that can win in a couple years with another piece or two.
But that involves spending to get Gibson. By next week.
Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:
We likely won’t know more about the extent of his injury until tomorrow, but if it was serious, that would be a major loss for the Hornets. Kidd-Gilchrist is their best perimeter defender and an important piece if they hope to compete for a playoff spot this year.
CHICAGO — Derrick Rose is nearing a return to practice with the Bulls. After undergoing surgery on Wednesday to repair a fractured left orbital suffered in practice on Tuesday, Rose’s recovery is going as expected and he’s expected to rejoin the team on Wednesday.
“The follow-up [exam] went very well,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said after practice on Saturday. “They’ve advised him to continue to let that site heal, and they think the best way for him to do that is to stay at home at this time. We plan on him being back on Wednesday morning.”
Rose won’t be able to participate in practice for another week after that — Hoiberg said the previously announced two-week timetable for returning to basketball activities remains on schedule — but with a radically different offense, there’s a lot to learn, and just being around the team to watch practices and learn the new play sets is important.
“We’re going to actually get over there and watch some film with him today,” Hoiberg said. “Because again, like we talked about [Friday], we’ve added new sets, new things, so we’ll get him caught up by a couple of coaches going over and seeing him at his house.”
The two-week timetable puts Rose’s return to basketball activity around next Wednesday, October 14. From there, it will be a matter of getting him back into game shape before Hoiberg is comfortable playing him in games.
Hoiberg said earlier this week that he is optimistic Rose will be able to play when the Bulls kick off the regular season at home on October 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers.