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 have emerged from a ball of confusion to parts unknown

Bulls have emerged from a ball of confusion to parts unknown

The big red button was pressed and Jimmy Butler was ejected from the Chicago Bulls’ present and future as they finally made the decision to rebuild after two years of resisting.

Trading Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the ability to draft Lauri Markkanen represents the Bulls committing to the draft lottery and fully going in on the Fred Hoiberg experience for the foreseeable future, as the prospect of trying to improve through shrewd moves in the East while also facing the likelihood of Butler commanding a $200 million contract wasn’t palatable to their pocketbook or their sensibilities.

On one hand, making a decision — any decision — can be applauded on some levels after years of their relationship with Butler being complicated at best. But the idea of rebuilding and the application of it are often two separate ideals, because the evaluation of a rebuild can often be as murky as the land the Bulls just left.

“What we’ve done tonight is set a direction,” Bulls Executive Vice President John Paxson said. “We’ve gone to the past where we make the playoffs, but not at the level we wanted to. You know in this league, success is not determined that way. We’ve decided to make the change and rebuild this roster.”

“We’re gonna remain patient and disciplined. The development of our young players is important. The coaching staff has done a phenomenal job. We’re gonna continue down that path. We’re not gonna throw huge money at people.”

The Bulls aren’t exclusive to this territory, the land in which they’ve inhibited for the last couple seasons, which makes the Butler trade about more than one thing.

Not equal parts but part basketball, part fiscal, part narrative and finally, masking some mistakes that have been made over the years but are not as easily rectified. Trading Butler seemed to be the easiest vessel used as an elixir to wash away missteps. Trading a star in Butler is also the easiest way to get heat off a coach or front office in today’s NBA, because few franchises like to make wholesale changes midstream or early in it.

Trading Butler — along with shipping their second-round pick in a box marked for the Bay Area — was also financial, considering many felt if he made it through the tumultuous evening that he would finish his career as a Bull, raking in a hefty sum of cash on the back end.

It’s because of these factors that the evaluation of this trade and subsequently, a painful rebuild, cannot be in a vacuum. (Note: No rebuild is painless, it’s the size of the migraine a team can endure that determines the type of aspirin necessary).

Just taking a look at the players the Bulls got back in the Butler trade illustrates the gray area they’ve now immersed themselves into. The Bulls fell in love with Dunn before he came to the NBA, and aren’t as bothered by him being a 23-year old second-year player who struggled mightily in his rookie year.

Zach LaVine is an explosive athlete who can put up 20 every night — when he’s on the floor. Recovering from an ACL injury is no given, as evidenced by a young phenom who once graced the United Center hardwood before his body betrayed him.

And Lauri Markkanen is a rookie with promise, but nobody can make any promises on what type of career he’ll have, or if he’ll fulfill that promise with this franchise in the requisite time.

“There’s always risk in anything,” Paxson said. “But here’s a guy that’s 22 years old and averages 20 a game (LaVine). He can score the basketball, he can run. He can shoot the basketball. He shot over 40 percent from three. That’s an area we’re deficient in. Markkanen shot over 40 from three in college. Again, it’s an area where we’re deficient. It’s trying to find the type of player that fits the way that we want to play going forward.”

[RELATED: Jimmy Butler bids emotional farewell to Chicago]

General Manager Gar Forman stated after the announcement of the trade that the Bulls would have to hit on their next few draft picks to stop this rebuild from being elongated, but even then there’s no guarantee.

The Sacramento Kings drafted a rookie of the year, then two future max contract players in the same year, followed by another player who’ll command close to max money very soon. But nobody remembers Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside and Isaiah Thomas leading the Kings from the wilderness and into glory, unless recent memory has been scrubbed away from everyone.

Inconsistencies in organizational structure combined with multiple coaching changes and an inability to develop the right young players kept the Kings on the dais of the draft lottery every April.

The Timberwolves, heck, nobody could say they missed when selecting LaVine, Karl-Anthony Towns and getting Andrew Wiggins in a trade for Kevin Love. It’s because it takes more than the right draft picks, or in the Sacramento Kings’ case, the right infrastructure and environment, to foster an atmosphere of winning.

The Bulls were ready, despite their claims that this was a decision that came across their table right before the draft, because common sense has to be applied. No team makes knee-jerk, franchise-altering decisions that will have reverberations for years to come on the whim of a trade offer from Tom Thibodeau. This was likely decided when the Bulls went out with a whimper in the first-round after shocking the NBA world in the first two games against the Boston Celtics, when their fortunes changed on the trifle of Rajon Rondo’s broken wrist.

It was decided that Hoiberg, the man who endured chants calling for his firing in the second half of the decisive Game 6 loss, needed to have the right type of roster to be accurately judged as a successful hire or failure, and Butler couldn’t be part of those plans.

And just as Hoiberg has been dealt an uneven hand, Butler wasn’t given the type of roster that would accurately judge how he could flourish as a leader, max player and face of the franchise — and probably had less time to show one way or the other relative to his coach.

The longer Butler stayed, the more empowered he would become as his individual accomplishments would rack up because of the dedication he applied to game, the drive he had to place himself in the upper echelon of NBA players.

The better Butler got, the more pressure Hoiberg would be under to mix and match his roster and to foster a relationship with Butler he might’ve been ill-suited to fix. The better Butler got, the more pressure the front office would be under to maximize a prime it didn’t see coming, a prime they can’t truly figure when there’s an expiration date on given Butler’s unlikely rise to stardom.

So getting rid of Butler was the solution and the Bulls have now chosen their path, definitively and with confidence. Emerging from a ball of confusion to parts unknown, from one land of uncertainty to another.

Watch some of new Bull Zach LaVine's best dunks

Watch some of new Bull Zach LaVine's best dunks

Zach LaVine quickly made a name for himself as a prolific, epic dunker.

The recently acquired Bull won both the 2015 and 2016 Slam Dunk Contests and has plenty of awe-inspiring in-game dunks as well.

The video above has a few of LaVine's best efforts.

His signature dunks in the dunk contests were the 2015 dazzler when he caught the ball from behind the backboard and went through his legs before slamming it and the through the legs from just inside the free throw line dunk in 2016.

For in-game dunks, the time he posterized Alex Len in November was an instant-classic. It's not everyday a 7-footer gets dismissed with such authority.

Of course, LaVine's ability to dunk at this prodigious level is in question after he tore his ACL this past season. If LaVine can come back to anywhere near full strength, look for some impressive highlights from the former dunk champ in a Bulls uniform.