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


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, 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 supportive of Robin Lopez after one-game suspension following Serge Ibaka scrap

Bulls supportive of Robin Lopez after one-game suspension following Serge Ibaka scrap

Although the punches didn't connect, the NBA was not going to take the Robin Lopez-Serge Ibaka confrontation lightly, suspending each one game Wednesday afternoon.

Lopez served his time in the Bulls' surprising 117-95 win over the Detroit Pistons at the United Center. Per league rules, Lopez was not allowed on team property but he did speak to head coach Fred Hoiberg when the team returned from Toronto after the Bulls' heartbreaking overtime loss Tuesday.

Lopez will return to the Bulls lineup Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers, a relief to the Bulls considering the league could've taken a harsher stance with Lopez — a two- or three-game suspension was being mulled at the league office, sources tell

Lopez was pushed into Ibaka after Jimmy Butler hit a three in the second half, and the two combatants squared off underneath the rim, with officials, teammates and coaches trying to separate them.

Ibaka appeared to have his arm reaching at Lopez's neck, prompting Lopez to swing at Ibaka. He missed, and Ibaka grazed Lopez's face with a wild swing of his own.

Both were ejected after being separated and shortly thereafter, the Raptors begun their run from being down 15 points to end the Bulls' recent mastery over them.

Despite the effect, Lopez had the full support of his teammates and coaching staff.

"I think you ask anybody in that locker room, Robin Lopez is one of the most if not the most popular guy on this team," Hoiberg said. "He's a guy that goes out and approaches his job the same way every day. He goes to work. He never complains. He does what's asked of him. Also if you asked them, they'd tell you he's as passionate of a guy as we have on this team as well. He's got a fire to him that you just don't ever want to take away."

That fire clearly got underneath Lopez and Ibaka, causing Lopez to lunge at Ibaka. Telling from the immediate reaction from the Bulls players and from Hoiberg and associate coach Jim Boylen, it seems as if it wasn't the first time Lopez's engine ran a little hot.

"This game gets very competitive obviously, it gets heated at times," Hoiberg said. "That happened last night. It's unfortunate what went down, but we've all got Robin's back. I think everybody in this organization, from the players all the way to up top, has Robin's back. We'll deal with it and move on. We'll be happy to have him in the lineup Friday."

Lopez averages 10.3 points and 6.5 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game, slightly higher than his career averages through his nine NBA seasons.

Considering the play seemed relatively tame, it was slightly puzzling to see both players go at each other so ferociously but there appeared to be more to the story than first blush.

"There's always more going on than it appears," Hoiberg said. "You go back and watch on film, there's little jabs that happen in the course of the game and sometimes it reaches the boiling point. Robin is a guy that plays this game with a lot of passion, and you don't ever want to see something like that happen, but it did. And again, you move on."

Normally, Lopez attacks mascots during timeouts or pregame warm-ups, so nobody felt Lopez was looking for an altercation, and considering it only cost him a game — one the Bulls won anyways — Hoiberg didn't seem too stressed about it beforehand.

"Yeah, you know, Robin's going to have our guys' backs as much as anybody in the locker room," Hoiberg said. "Again, you look in that locker room, all those guys are going to have each other's back, Robin as much as anybody. Unfortunately, it happened. It looked like it was a little hip check, they turned around and got squared off, and we all know what happened. Again, we'll all be excited to have Robin back in the lineup on Friday."

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