Bulls' opener coincides with deadline for Gibson's deal

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Bulls' opener coincides with deadline for Gibson's deal

Hours after the Bulls' regular-season opener is over, another Halloween subplot will reach its conclusion. The looming deadline for the organization to reach an agreement for a long-term contract extension with Taj Gibson is 11 p.m. Central, or just after the fourth-year power forward and his teammates will have filed out of the United Center.

By then, Gibson will have an idea of whether his primary motivation, aside from helping the Bulls have a successful season, will be to prove to the Bulls and other teams around the league that he's worthy of a contract approaching the eight-figure range next summer or showing the team that selected him 26th overall back in 2009 that he was indeed worthy of them rewarding him with a new deal.

While the Bulls remain hopeful Gibson will accept an offer prior to Wednesday night's deadline, according to a person familiar with the situation, the two sides still had some ground to make up as of Tuesday evening. If Gibson isn't locked up, the Bulls expect to match competing offers from opposing teams in the event that he hits the open market as a restricted free agent.

Unlike the departed Omer Asik, a second-round draft pick, teams won't be able to use a "poison pill" against the Bulls, but with a strong season, it wouldn't be shocking to see Gibson presented with an offer sheet that the Bulls find unreasonable. The underrated Gibson is highly regarded around the league and raised his profile with his stint with the USA Select Team in Las Vegas over the summer, practicing against the eventual Olympic gold-medal winners, and according to a source, the likes of San Antonio and Orlando, along with his hometown Knicks and Nets, would be potential suitors.

Apart from Gibson, the one other early-season transaction the Bulls are monitoring is acquiring a minimum-salary contract when they have the cap space to add a 14th player next month. Veteran wings such as recently-waived Quentin Richardson, a Chicago native, are among those under consideration, a league source told CSNChicago.com, but the Bulls also have the option of waiting until later in the season and signing two players if an addition doesn't seem necessary early on in the campaign.

Brian Kelly aims to be more fiery, get players to play with more fun and passion

Brian Kelly aims to be more fiery, get players to play with more fun and passion

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Reeling with a 1-3 record and uncertain prospects of reaching a bowl game, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly wants his team to have more fun and play with more passion, and he sees being more fiery on the sidelines during games as part of the solution. 

When asked if he needed to be looser on the sidelines to help inject some “fun” into his team on gamedays, Kelly said said that's not the case. 

“I actually think I should probably — I think I've been a little too, what's the word I'm looking for, maybe not as demonstrative,” Kelly said. “I think I've got to be more fiery on the sidelines, quite frankly. So I'm going to try to turn it up a little bit on the sidelines, because that's who I am, you know? And I've been hands off a little bit. I just need to be who I am, and not be, you know, as hands off and I've got to be more involved. So if I was too fiery, you guys will have even better stories over the next couple of weeks.”

Kelly’s first couple years on campus were marked by easily-sharable purple-faced rants, and last year he got into a physical sideline confrontation with assistant strength coach David Grimes (Kelly later said he regretted the incident happened). Following a blown coverage against Michigan State that effectively ended Sept. 17’s 36-28 loss, Kelly was seen on TV directing an expletive at a defensive coach (both ex-defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and defensive backs coach Todd Lyght were in the vicinity). 

“I can still be demonstrative, but I just feel like they still have to see that passion from me as well and that's all I was saying,” Kelly said. “I don't have to be a loon particularly on the sideline and throw chairs and do that kinda stuff. But they have to feel that from me as well. I think that's very important in this game of football.”

Kelly sharply criticized his team’s passion — and lack thereof, as he saw it — after Notre Dame’ 38-35 loss to Duke last weekend. When asked Tuesday if he thought the best way to get his players to play with passion was by pointing out their lack of passion, Kelly said it wasn’t, but he and his coaches are working on finding that solution. 

“I have to be able to find out what are the reasons that we're not playing with passion,” Kelly said. “I’ve made some changes, obviously, some significant changes, within my staff, that goes to maybe some of the reasons why we weren't. And there are other things that have to continue to evolve for us to continue to move in the direction that I want.”

Everything is on the table as Notre Dame looks to dig itself out of its brutal September. Plenty more players will get on the field, Kelly promised, in a sort of quality-over-quantity approach to gameday snaps (Kelly pointed to safety Drue Tranquill playing his best game of the season on only 39 snaps, for instance). The seventh-year Irish coach will be more involved in the defense after firing VanGorder and replacing him with Greg Hudson. 

While he’s criticized both groups, Kelly said he’s confident in his players and his coaching staff’s ability to turn around the 2016 season and avoid being ineligible for a bowl game for the first time since 2007. 

“We're 1-3, our players aren't that bad, our coaches are pretty good coaches,” Kelly said. “I’ve been doing it for 27 years. Obviously, we're working through some things. We're working through some things and our guys are working through them. We're working through them, and we think we're going back in the right direction.”

Adam Eaton returns to White Sox lineup vs. Rays

Adam Eaton returns to White Sox lineup vs. Rays

Adam Eaton is back in the White Sox lineup in their contest against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night on CSN+.

Eaton will bat in the leadoff spot and play right field.

"It’s nice to be back in there and I’m excited," Eaton said prior to Tuesday night's game. "They played really well yesterday, so hopefully we can keep up that same intensity. As I’ve said, I’m excited to get back out there."

Manager Robin Ventura held Eaton out of the game on Monday night, saying that he still needed time to recuperate. But the White Sox outfielder is ready to go.

[SHOP WHITE SOX: Get an Adam Eaton jersey right here]

Eaton left last week’s game against the Cleveland Indians after crashing into the wall while making a catch. He missed the next three games.

Eaton, who got the wind knocked out of him during the catch, took and passed concussion tests.