Basketball / Sports

Bulls' Taj Gibson blocking out trade rumors

Each time Taj Gibson works out at the Berto Center, team officials tell him not to focus on trade rumors involving his name.

That said, they're not stopping. And Wednesday brought another round as the Bulls continue talking with the Timberwolves about Kevin Love.

"It's tough, but it's part of the business," Gibson said at his youth basketball camp in Deerfield. "I've been in the league for awhile and have been around some great veterans who taught me a lot about the game. The one thing they always say is be grateful that somebody wants you and that you're in the NBA and just focus on your game.

"Without a doubt (I want to be here). I'm a nonchalant kind of guy. I let my game speak for myself. But this place has been home for me, a lot of good times. I'm looking forward to the future and playing here hopefully for a long time."

Gibson said he talked to his agent on Tuesday and that nothing specific or imminent was relayed to him. Multiple outlets, including the Tribune, reported the Bulls inquired about Love after putting him on the back burner to chase Carmelo Anthony in free agency but that the Cavaliers are firmly in the lead.

The Tribune previously reported that Nikola Mirotic sought a commitment from the Bulls before completing his buyout from Real Madrid. And league sources indicated to the Tribune on Wednesday that reports of offers of Mirotic and first-round acquisition Doug McDermott for Love are "overstated."

Plus, Pau Gasol is under the impression he's starting.

In fact, the Bulls were positioned better to acquire Love without gutting their team in June with Carlos Boozer's expiring contract, two first-round picks and non-guaranteed deals of salary-cap filler that were waived in July.

"We like our depth," general manager Gar Forman said at last week's introduction of Mirotic and Gasol.

So does Gibson.

"It reminds me of the time we went to the (2011) Eastern Conference finals," Gibson said. "We were real deep. We had at least 10 or 11 guys who could really go. I'm looking forward to it. Everybody on this team is mostly focused on winning championships.

"It's scary at times if you think about the potential of the front line and our depth. (Mirotic) is going to be extremely good. Joakim (Noah), we won't have to put so many minutes on him because every year late in the season he's always banged up."

Gibson praised the Gasol acquisition and said he would have no problem coming off the bench again.

"It's a great addition," Gibson said. "It gives us more depth. We have more size up front. One thing about our bigs is (coach Tom Thibodeau) can have so many different options. He can go small. He can go big. He can go quick. You have a lot of different lineups."

Like everyone else in the organization, Gibson is eager for Derrick Rose's return.

"Derrick has been having a great summer," Gibson said. "He's sacrificing and staying in Chicago all summer to work on his game. Every time I go in the gym, he's there."

Gibson also talked about his role in the pitch to Carmelo Anthony during free agency.

"We were just hanging out," he said. "It was just a mutual respect being from New York, respecting our games, talking about so many different stories. We weren't getting into the whole coming here and do this and do that. We were just getting familiar with one another and seeing how it happens. It just didn't go our way.

"We told him we want you here to win a championship. But we understand all the things that come with it, your family and stuff. We didn't have any hard feelings. We respect the game. We respect (Anthony) as a person."

Gibson's camp drew sponsorship from the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens benefiting ProCamps, which provided 15 scholarships and more opportunities for youths who promised to graduate. This is no small detail to Gibson, who landed in national headlines this summer when his 6-year-old nephew tragically was stabbed to death in Brooklyn.

"It's tough," Gibson said. "I think about him every day. It's one of those freak things you never expect to happen to your family.

"Every time I talk to these kids about non-violence, I really mean it because I lost a lot of friends and close family members through the struggles. I understand what goes on in the neighborhood. God always throws you a curveball. You just have to keep your family close and love them while they're here."

(c)2014 Chicago Tribune

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