Bulls

Marquis Teague lone unsigned first -rounder; Is money an issue?

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Marquis Teague lone unsigned first -rounder; Is money an issue?

29 first-round draft picks have signed fully guaranteed contracts with their respective teams, all the way from No. 1 pick Anthony Davis (New Orleans) to No. 30 Festus Ezeli (Golden State).
The one first-rounder without a deal? Chicago's Marquis Teague.
According to a very in-depth report on rookie contracts from Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com, the issue between Teague and the Bulls' brass is regarding the pay scale in which Chicago is willing to pay the 19-year-old Teague.
Teams have the option to pay first-round picks 80, 100 or 120 percent of the pay scale the NBA suggests to each team, relative to the pick. As Deeks puts it, "almost everybody gets the 120, even when drafted late. The exceptions to this are very few and far between."
One of those exceptions Deeks noted was players drafted late in the first round. At No. 29, Teague would fit the bill. However, Jimmy Butler was drafted No. 30 last year and received the 120 percent pay scale contract, so it would be odd for the Bulls to not give Teague the same contract.
The difference between the 100 and the 120 percent pay scale over four seasons for Teague is 874,550 or as Deeks puts it, "theequivalentof one veteran minimum contract, but over a four-year period."
But the hold-up may not have anything to do with how the Bulls feel about Teague, but rather the flexibility it would give them to still sign someone this off-season.
After the Bulls signed Kirk Hinrich to the full non-tax payer's mid-level exception, they were put under a hard salary cap of 74.3 million. They can not exceed that number at any point this season.
With the 12 roster players (Robinson included, Teague not included), Chicago has 72,691,450 in salary. Adding Teague at the 120 percent pay scale would put them at 73,719,850 in salary, with 597,150 to spend.
Giving Teague the 100 percent pay scale would make his 2012-2013 salary cap hit 857,000, and the Bulls would have 73,548,450 in salary, with 751,550 to spend.
The salary cap hit on a veteran's minimum contract is 854,389. It's possible the Bulls are attempting to sign Teague to a pay scale that would get them below that number and able to sign a veteran, or are trying to move Rip Hamilton to free up cap space.
While the numbers can be confusing, what's simple is this: the Bulls do have enough cap space to sign Teague to the 120 percent pay scale, and it doesn't appear the 19-year-old point guard will budge on the issue, especially given the Bulls' history of paying their first-rounders 120 percent.
Deeks also believes the Bulls are not trying to pinch pennies after handing Kirk Hinrich 8 million for two years.
Deeks referred in his article back to 2010 when the Memphis Grizzlies attempted to short-change lottery pick Xavier Henry. What eventually happened was Henry getting his desired pay scale contract and a "PR nightmare to show for it" for Memphis.
That's something the Bulls don't want, so expect a deal to happen sooner than later.

Bulls Talk Podcast: Getting to know the Bulls Outsiders team; bold predictions for this season

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NBC Sports Chicago

Bulls Talk Podcast: Getting to know the Bulls Outsiders team; bold predictions for this season

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, the Bulls Outsiders team of Matt Peck, David Watson, and John Sabine join Kevin Anderson to talk about the series premier of ‘Bulls Outsiders’ Thursday night. Hear about how the show came together and what they are hoping to bring to the Bulls fanbase this season. They’ll also share their bold predictions for the season including two potential end-of-season award winners from this roster.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Kris Dunn thinks Zach LaVine could be 'a good defender in this league'

Kris Dunn thinks Zach LaVine could be 'a good defender in this league'

We all know what Zach LaVine is capable of doing on the offensive side of things. But what about his defense?

It's no secret that LaVine has had his fair share of struggles on defense, but Kris Dunn thinks highly of his 23-year-old teammate and what his potential is at the other end.

"On the defensive end I just told him, 'You're as fast as me. You're more athletic than me. There's no way you shouldn't be a good defender in this league. You could be one of those guys who could be dynamic in the passing lanes because you're so athletic and fast.'" Dunn said of LaVine. "And personally, I like to score. If you get in a passing lane, that's a dunk for yourself and because you've got so much bounce that's when you get the crowd on their feet — maybe do a windmill, a 360, something.

"But I think he's been going a good job on the defensive end. It's not going to be easy. We all got to learn and I think we're all trying."

Improving his defense would obviously be a big step forward for LaVine (and the Bulls), and he knows it. 

“I think I had a lot better focus on the defensive end,” LaVine said when assessing his preseason. “I had some mistakes too, but I wanted to go out there and just really hone in on being more focused down there. I felt like I did OK with that. Still some areas I want to get better at, definitely off-the-ball I think I did a lot better than I had before.’’

LaVine and the Bulls travel to Philadelphia to face the 76ers on Thursday night in their season opener. You can watch Bulls Pre- and Postgame Live on NBC Sports Chicago before and after the game for highlights and analysis.