The way Taj Gibson sees it, at some point the worrying just stops.
It has to.
Year after year, rumor after rumor, a player can get caught up in the hype of being in the trade recycling bin for only so long.
The choice becomes letting it eat you up or simply becoming numb to it.
That’s where the Bulls veteran big man is these days, and it looks like his teammates are following.
“Being in trade rumors means other teams want you too so it’s like half and half,’’ Gibson said of all the trade rumors surrounding the Bulls the last few weeks. “It’s part of our business. I’m just numb to it because I get good feedback from my agent all the time. So I’m never really worried about what’s going on.
“Play the right way. We make a good living for what we do. So there’s always a positive about that.’’
That attitude seems to be contagious, as the Bulls continued looking like a team that’s decided to just “play the right way.’’
Behind a furious fourth-quarter comeback to overcome what was once a 19-point deficit to Toronto, the Bulls sent the game to overtime and then took over, beating the Raptors, 123-118, at the United Center. It was their third straight win, and their fifth in their last seven, climbing back over the .500 mark with a 19-18 record.
Even more impressive, in beating the perceived second-best team in the Eastern Conference, it now gave the Bulls 10 straight wins over Toronto.
Thank Jimmy Butler. Again.
Butler scored seven of his 42 points in the extra stanza, including a ridiculous three-pointer with just 17.3 seconds left and with Raptors guard Kyle Lowry in his face.
No problem for the two-time All-Star, as the Jimmy Butler Take Over continued.
The 27-year-old guard has now averaged 38 points per game over his last three contests in beating Charlotte, Cleveland and now Toronto.
“Obviously you can put Jimmy up with the superstars in this league, and put him in that category,’’ coach Fred Hoiberg said after the win. “There’s no doubt about that. Obviously just put the ball in his hands in the fourth quarter, he made unbelievable plays. Just did everything for us.’’
That he did. Besides scoring 32 points after the first half, Butler finished with 10 rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Not bad for a guy that was supposedly being shopped by the team this week in one national story. According to a source close to the situation, however, phone calls were only coming in on Butler, not going out.
“My job’s not to worry about what the media’s writing, what’s going on in the outside world,’’ Butler said of his name floating around this week. “My job is to come in here and work, help this team win games. I tell everybody, just like they tell me, we’re all we got in here. Good, bad, indifferent, we can always lean on each other. So with all the hibbity hoobla that’s going around, just keep being you and keep working.’’
Which is all his teammates can ask of him.
“You can control what you can control,’’ veteran Dwyane Wade said. “You can’t control somebody waking up one day and wanting to stir something up in Chicago and write an article.’’