Bulls exercise options on rookie deals of Butler, Teague

Bulls exercise options on rookie deals of Butler, Teague
October 30, 2013, 6:15 pm
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The expectations for Bulls players Jimmy Butler and Marquis Teague are vastly different as the regular season gets in gear, but one common experience the teammates will share is presumably getting an opportunity to build on whatever progress they make come the 2014-15 campaign.

The Bulls announced Wednesday that they will exercise the team options on both players' rookie contracts, the third and fourth years, respectively, of Teague and Butler's deals.

For Butler, the Bulls' starting shooting guard, it was a mere formality, as he's regarded as one of the league's top two-way players, as evidenced by his efficient 20 points and five steals, despite early foul trouble, in Tuesday's season-opening loss to the Heat. In fact, this season will likely be used to gauge the athletic swingman's long-term value, as he should fall in line somewhere below similarly versatile San Antonio small forward Kawhi Leonard, a fellow member of the 2011 NBA Draft class, when it comes time to negotiate a contract extension.

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For Teague, the option year was no guarantee, as the speedy 20-year-old second-year point guard, who played sparingly as a rookie (though he did gain valuable playoff experience in Game 7 of the Bulls' first-round series win over Brooklyn, then followed it up with a strong summer-league performance in Las Vegas), was the subject of preseason trade rumors amid an uneven exhibition campaign, where he both flashed glimpses of his potential and displayed inconsistency. Playing behind superstar Derrick Rose and veteran backup Kirk Hinrich, finding a way to carve out even a small niche in the regular rotation would be a big step for Teague, though it remains to be seen whether Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau would trust him over 38-year-old journeyman Mike James if either of the aforementioned floor generals was sidelined during the season.

Regardless, now both Butler and Teague have the security of knowing that they each have another season in the NBA to continue to evolve as players.