From ESPNChicago.com: “The Chicago Bulls exercised the fourth-year option on point guard Derrick Rose, and the third-year options on Taj Gibson and James Johnson on Monday. That means all three players will be under contract with the Bulls for the 2011-12 season.”
Well, there really wasn’t much suspense about Rose and Gibson. Rose might end up being a Bull for life, and Gibson (unless he gets flipped in a major trade) seems to be significant part of the team’s frontcourt of the future. That and I’m sure the team is just waiting to use a headline like “The Rise of Taj.” I know I am.
It’s mildly surprising management picked up Johnson’s option, given his struggles with consistency and an iffy (at times) basketball IQ. Still, according to the salary information ShamSports, he’ll only cost the Bulls about 1.8 million next season. That’s a reasonably low-cost alternative for a backup SF, particularly one who knows the system and is familiar with his teammates. Continuity has its advantages.
It’s also possible that the new coaching staff saw enough of Johnson over the summer to think that they can transform him into a regular contributor. Everything I hear and read about Tom Thibodeau is that he’s an excellent teacher. And let’s face it, J.J.’s physical talents aren’t in question.