Taj Gibson denies report he was told to prepare to be a starter next season

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UPDATE 11:45 pm: Taj Gibson denied the original report when speaking on Chicago radio Friday night.

9:30 pm: Teams tell players things during exit interviews to motivate them, a little of the carrot and stick routine. “If you work on X then next season we can use you more, get you more minutes.”

However, what the Bulls told Taj Gibson is more than that — it speaks to them possibly using their amnesty on Carlos Boozer. Here is the report, via the Chicago Sun Times.

While general manager Gar Forman has remained poker-faced about the future of Carlos Boozer in a Bulls uniform, several sources indicated that reserve power forward Taj Gibson was told by his coaching staff to start preparing this offseason to be a starter come tip-off 2014-15….

“I mean this will be exciting,’’ Gibson said in a phone interview. “This is what I’ve always thought about. When I started [those six games] for Boozer when he was hurt during the season, I just know how excited I was, how good it felt to come to the arena.’’

Gibson said he has recovered from the sprained ankle that slowed him in the playoffs and he is working out already for next season.

It has been suspected the Bulls would amnesty Carlos Boozer next season, taking his $16.8 million off their books (Boozer still gets paid his money, but he comes off the Bulls books, they don’t pay any tax on him and can use his money for other purposes).

The reason for that has been reportedly to chase big name power forward — Carmelo Anthony via free agency or Kevin Love via trade. The Bulls are in the mix for both but the odds of landing one are still fairly long.

If so, that could push Gibson back to the bench.

That said he wants to start and the Bulls are 5-1 when he did this past season. It might be time to just give him his shot in Chicago.