If Taj Gibson's offensive ability improves, he can be a weapon off the bench for the Bulls.
Salary: $1.195 million
Role for Bulls in 2011-'12: Gibson is going to be asked to do exactly what he did last season. He served as a defensive anchor for Tom Thibodeau's second unit and played his role extremely well throughout the year, averaging seven points and six rebounds a game.
What happened this summer?: Gibson spent a lot of time training with fellow NBA players in Los Angeles. He appears to have come back in even better shape this season and is clearly maturing as a player. He obviously spent a lot of time working on his low-post game, among other things.
"I just want to be patient," Gibson said, after Friday night's preseason win over the Pacers. "Even if it's not going your way, just have patience, push through. Try to rebound, try to play solid defense. And the main thing is to just have confidence. I got more and more confidence as the game went on."
Best-case scenario: Gibson becomes even more of an offensive threat to go along with his defensive prowess. He also serves as a solid insurance policy in case Carlos Boozer goes down with an injury for an extended period of time.
Worst-case scenario: Gibson has been extremely durable over his first two seasons in the league, missing just two games total. He has struggled with various nagging injuries throughout his short career though. If he goes down for an extended amount of time, the Bulls will struggle to replace his consistency.
Bottom line: Gibson is going to want a contract extension in the near future. He really seems to like it in Chicago, but if he becomes a consistent double double threat, there will most likely be some team which will offer him a big contract and a starting role. He doesn't want to leave Chicago, but he may be the Bulls' best trade bait if they decide to make a deal later in the season.