Bulls

Teague's deal could signal end of Bulls' offseason moves

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Teague's deal could signal end of Bulls' offseason moves

Marquis Teague, the Bulls' first-round draft pick, has agreed to terms with the organization, as first reported by the Chicago Tribune.

Teague, a point guard from the University of Kentucky, was the last first-round selection in the 2012 NBA Draft to sign his contract, but more significantly, the Indianapolis native will receive 100 percent of his 857,000 rookie-scale deal in his first season, as opposed to the 120 percent typical of most rookie contracts.

As first reported by ShamSports.com, Teague's deal was likely delayed due to the Bulls' desire to stay under the NBA's "hard" salary cap.

However, even with Teague, the younger brother of Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague, taking less money in his first year -- he will receive 120 percent of his salary in the final two seasons of his rookie contract -- the Bulls will not be able to sign even another minimum-salary veteran player without exceeding the hard cap.

The Bulls, who will pay the league's luxury tax for the first time in the organization's history, now have 13 players under contract after acquiring free agents Kirk Hinrich, Marco Belinelli, Nate Robinson, Vladimir Radmanovic and Chicago native Nazr Mohammed. Teague's signing likely signifies the end of the team's offseason transactions.

While the likes of summer-league revelation Malcolm Thomas (offered a partially-guaranteed deal, according to a source, but will likely opt to play overseas), mini-camp participant and Chicago native Patrick Beverley (recently worked out for the Lakers), former All-Star Tracy McGrady and former Sacramento Kings forward Donte Greene have all been rumored to be potential additions to the roster, the front office will probably choose to stand pat, save a possible training-camp invitation or two.

After the decimation of the majority of the "Bench Mob," the Bulls' popular second unit -- backup point guard C.J. Watson and reserve swingman Ronnie Brewer were waived, then subsequently signed with Brooklyn and New York, respectively; sharpshooter Kyle Korver was traded to Atlanta; diminutive fan favorite John Lucas III joined Toronto -- and adding the aforementioned low-profile free agents, the Bulls' summer has been widely regarded as disappointing by observers.

With superstar Derrick Rose on the shelf to begin the season, expectations are low heading into the regular season, but the franchise still has work to do. The Bulls intend to sign backup power forward Taj Gibson to a long-term contract extension before the season begins, as he will surely generate much interest if he hits the market as a restricted free agent next summer.

Meanwhile, the matter of Tom Thibodeau's own deal -- the head coach is in the final year of his contract after his team option was picked up earlier in the offseason -- looms.

2018-19 NBA Power Rankings: Opening Week edition

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USA TODAY

2018-19 NBA Power Rankings: Opening Week edition

The theme of the 2018-19 NBA season will be: “old faces in new places”. Like a season-long game of the NBA on TNT crew’s “Who he play for?” game, this year will be about fans trying to get used to the idea of LeBron James in purple (I won’t call it ‘Forum Blue’)-and-gold, DeMarcus Cousins being on a championship-contending franchise and Kawhi Leonard being the new face of Toronto.

The Warriors are still the easy favorite to make it four NBA championships in five years, but they will be tested perhaps more than any year before in a loaded Western Conference, where even the lowliest of teams (here’s to you Phoenix and Memphis!) made solid offseason moves geared towards winning games.

Over in the now-LeBron-less East, there is hope amongst at least four-to-five teams that they could actually have a shot to win the conference. The Pacers still have budding superstar Victor Oladipo, the Sixers still have Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, and the Raptors and Bucks made head coaching changes that could lead to deep playoff runs. But with the rest of the Eastern conference being stuck between lottery contention and middle of the pack, expect the half-experienced, half-youthful Celtics to takeover as East juggernaut.

But whether or not your favorite franchise is aiming for a high draft pick or a postseason berth, there is tons to be excited in a 2018-19 NBA season that will surely be an intriguing one. Check out Week 1 of our NBA Power Rankings right here.

Deadline passes as Bulls, Bobby Portis fail to reach agreement on contract extension

Deadline passes as Bulls, Bobby Portis fail to reach agreement on contract extension

The Bulls and Bobby Portis were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension by today’s deadline, which will make the power forward a restricted free agent next offseason.

According to The Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson, Portis’ agent Mark Bartelstein and Gar Forman had “lengthy face-to-face negotiations” on Monday prior to the deadline. The two sides weren’t able to come to an agreement.

The negotiations – and lack of a deal – come after a summer and training camp in which Portis continued to show progression. After beginning the preseason coming off the bench Portis quickly played his way into the starting lineup alongside rookie Wendell Carter Jr. Portis finished five preseason games averaging 17.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals in just 22.4 minutes.

Portis, the 22nd pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, has seen his role increase each of his three seasons. He made a jump last season in Year 3, averaging 13.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in 22.5 minutes. He was one of three players, including DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Love, to average 21 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 3-pointers per 36 minutes.

Though the Bulls certainly had the room to sign Portis to an extension, there were obvious reasons on both sides to wait on a deal. For starters, the Bulls will still be able to match any deal Portis receives in free agency next July, much like what happened with Zach LaVine and the Sacramento Kings. The Bulls maintain their abundance of cap space for the 2019 offseason, when they’ll be able to offer a max contract to the top-tier free agents, and they get to see if Portis makes another jump.

For Portis, it’s a case of him betting on himself. If the Bulls came in with a number he wasn’t satisfied with – to help keep their max cap space – he now finds himself on a contract year playing for his next contract. Still only 23 years old, Portis should cash in in July.

Two players from Portis’ draft class were able to cash in. Pacers center Myles Turner signed a reported four-year, $80 million extension and Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. agreed to a four-year, $45 million deal. Portis likely would have fallen somewhere in between those two deals had an agreement occurred.

The Bulls are hardly in an easy situation with Portis. Though they value the versatile power forward, Lauri Markkanen is entrenched at the position for the foreseeable future and the team just spent last year’s No. 7 overall pick on center Wendell Carter Jr. Portis realistically is stuck behind both those players, though he certainly has starting level NBA talent.