Central Rumors: Jennings, Bulls, Gibson, Pacers

The 2012/13 season is now under way, as the Cavaliers and Wizards have tipped off in Cleveland. Even as we celebrate the start of a new season, there are a few offseason matters still to be resolved, with decisions on rookie-scale extensions chief among them. There's news on a couple of Central Division players up for those extensions this evening, along with other a few other notes of interest.

  • Knowing other teams can't backload an offer to Taj Gibson in restricted free agency the same way the Rockets did with Omer Asik this past summer, the Bulls are holding firm on their four-year extension offer of $30-32MM to Gibson, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports. Still, the two sides have made progress in talks that Gibson characterized as positive, Johnson adds.

Earlier updates:

  • The odds of an extension for Brandon Jennings are "more none than slim," according to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times (Twitter link). Last we heard, Jennings was reportedly seeking a deal worth $9-10MM from the Bucks.
  • The success of the past two seasons gave Bulls GM Gar Forman and vice president John Paxson leeway as the team regressed the summer in the wake of Derrick Rose's injury, but the executives will ultimately be judged by whether they find another star to complement their former MVP point guard, David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune believes. 
  • In the same piece, Haugh notes that Forman doesn't anticipate losing Taj Gibson in restricted free agency if the Bulls don't sign him to an extension before tomorrow's 11pm Central time deadline.
  • Despite last season's success, few pundits are predicting another step forward for the Pacers, who are still approaching this year with the mentality of an underdog, writes Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star.
  • Anderson Varejao's name has come up in several trade rumors over the past several months, but Zach Lowe of Grantland.com opines that he's just the sort of players the Cavs should want around their younger guys (Twitter link).
  • Cavs owner Dan Gilbert regrets guaranteeing his team would win a championship before LeBron James, as Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal notes (Sulia link).

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