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.

Morning Update: Bulls prep for Game 4; Cubs won; Sox lost

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AP

Morning Update: Bulls prep for Game 4; Cubs won; Sox lost

Here are some of Saturday's top stories in Chicago sports:

Five Things to Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in Game 4 today on CSN

Preview: Cubs look to sweep Reds on CSN

White Sox scoreless streak hits 23 innings in loss to Indians

No clear options for Fred Hoiberg at point guard

Two days later, Blackhawks still stunned, 'embarrassed' by quick exit

Cubs offense explodes with three home runs in victory over Reds

Stan Bowman 'completely, completely disappointed' with Blackhawks

White Sox prospect Carson Fulmer: 'Our time is coming soon'

Still in mourning, Isaiah Thomas dictates pace, delivers for Celtics

Jacob May gets 'Harambe' off his back with first career hit

Five Things to Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in Game 4 today on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Bulls battle Celtics in Game 4 today on CSN

Watch as the Bulls take on the Boston Celtics today in Game 4 on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 4:30 p.m. with Bulls Pregame Live. And be sure to stick around after the final buzzer to watch Bulls Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live-streaming coverage of the Bulls.

1. Which point guard steps up? With "Playoff Rondo" shelved after suffering a thumb injury, one of the Bulls point guards needs to step up for them to win Game 4. No one is expecting a near-triple-double like Rajon was approaching in Game 2, but hitting open shots and pushing the pace will be vital on Sunday. Jerian Grant finished with a minus-15 and zero assists in Game 3, while Michael Carter-Williams played 23 minutes and scored only two points on 1-for-5 shooting. If those two continue to struggle, it wouldn't be surprising to see Fred Hoiberg call Denzel Valentine's name. 

2. Bigger game from Jimmy Butler. In Game 1 Jimmy Butler dropped 30 points. He followed that up with 22 points, eight assists and eight rebounds in the Game 2 win. Game 3 wasn’t as pretty for the Bulls’ top scorer. Butler had 14 points on 7-21 shooting and didn’t have any assists. It’s an obvious thing to say, but the Bulls need more from Butler to stay in front in the series.

3. Three-point defense. Boston is going to take plenty of threes. The Celtics were third in the NBA in 3-point attempts per game in the regular season with 33.4 per contest. Still, the Celtics shot 17-37 in Game 3. It’s hard to beat a team shooting that well from beyond the arc so the Bulls will have to limit the quality looks Boston gets from the perimeter.

4. Bench production. Not only did Butler have good showings in the first two games, but the Bulls got plenty of bench production as well. That dried up in Game 3. After the Bulls’ bench averaged 30 points in the two games in Boston, the bench had just 16 points in 44 minutes before scoring 10 points in garbage time in the final four minutes of the blowout loss. It doesn’t matter where it comes from - Bobby Portis played the hero in Game 1 and Paul Zipser had the big game off the bench in Game 2 - as long as the bench provides some numbers.

5. Tame big Al Horford. Horford had a nice bounce back game on Friday, scoring 18 points on an efficient 8-for-14 shooting. He also conflated that with a solid floor game, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing six assists. If Horford continues to be aggressive when the Celtics have the ball, it could spell trouble for the Bulls. When Chicago dismantled Boston in Game 2, Horford only had seven points on 3-for-8 shooting. 

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