UNSUPPORTED BROWSER
Point Forward

Bulls' Taj Gibson denies report that he was told he'll start next season

The Bulls plan to have Taj Gibson replace Carlos Boozer in a starting role next season. (Ned Dishman/NBA) The Bulls reportedly plan to have Taj Gibson replace Carlos Boozer in a starting role next season. (Ned Dishman/NBA)

Bulls power forward Taj Gibson, who finished second in the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year voting, will reportedly shift into a starting role next season at the expense of incumbent starter Carlos Boozer.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Friday that Gibson was told by the team "to get [his] body and mind right to be a starter." Gibson, 28, averaged 13 points and 6.8 rebounds in 28.7 minutes per game last season for the Bulls. Gibson discussed the move with the Sun-Times via phone:

“I mean this will be exciting. 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.’’

In a strange twist, Gibson then denied the report on Friday evening, telling The Game Chicago's Jarrett Payton that the team had not told him he would be starting next season.

Gibson later reiterated that position from his own Twitter account.

The Bulls selected the 6-foot-9 Gibson with the 26th overall pick in the 2009 draft out of USC. In five seasons with Chicago he's become a valuable asset on the defensive end and earned the trust of coach Tom Thibodeau, often spelling Boozer, 32, in late-game situations.

As Gibson prepares to play a larger role this fall, the decision also signals the likely end of Boozer's tenure in Chicago. Gibson's success makes Boozer expendable and the veteran is coming off the worst of his four seasons as a Bull. Boozer averaged 13.7 points and and 8.3 rebounds and will be owed $16.8 million next season, the last of a five-year deal.

With the Bulls being linked to superstars Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love this offseason, it's been widely speculated that Boozer could be amnestied or traded to clear cap space for a major addition. Although the size of his expiring contract makes shipping him off a difficult task, it could also be a useful trade chip in obtaining a star with a similar salary.

The reported decision to start Gibson and impending Boozer exit will likely be the first of several key off-season decisions for Chicago, who hold the 16th and 19th picks in the first round of next month's draft.

More Point Forward

Close

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Just follow these 4 easy steps:

  1. Click the Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Bookmarks.
  3. Select Bookmark manager.
  4. Locate your current Sports Illustrated bookmark, click the Organize menu, then select Edit. You can now easily update the web address of your Sports Illustrated bookmark.

    Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Just follow these 2 easy steps:

  1. Click the Safari bookmark manager on the browser toolbar.
  2. This will open the Bookmarks Bar. In the Bookmarks Bar, select your Sports Illustrated bookmark and manually edit the Address field.

    Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.

To continue enjoying content from the most trusted name is sports, please be sure to update your current bookmark.

Just follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Click the Firefox bookmark manager on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select Show All Bookmarks.
  3. This will open the library window. In the Library window, select your Sports Illustrated bookmark and manually edit the Location field.

    Our updated web address is http://www.si.com.
Don't Show This Again