Aug 7, 2012, 2:12 PM EDT
Well, that took longer than it should have, longer than any other first-round pick. And the episode added to the Bulls reputation as run by penny pinchers.
“It feels good to finally get it out of the way,” Teague said in a phone interview. “I just want to get in the gym and start working out.”
The Bulls were above the salary cap but below the luxury tax line, so when they used some of their mid-level exception on Kirk Hinrich and their bi-annual exception on Marco Belinelli, the created a true hard cap for themselves at $74 million (just one of the fun quirks of the new CBA, small market owners trying to prevent another Miami).
Rookie contracts are slotted in salary but teams can and customarily do sign their rookies to the maximum 120 percent of that slotted amount. However, because of the Hinrich and Belinelli deals and the ensuing hard cap, the Bulls could did not want to offer that. They could have fit it in but they wanted a little wiggle room. So Teague had to settle for 100 percent of his slotted amount, the Tribune reports.
It’s been that kind of summer for the Bulls. They are now within $1 million of the hard cap and can’t even bring in a veteran minimum player, they will go with the 13 now signed. They have gotten worse in the short term and kept deals short as they clearly have set a goal of having cap space in 2014 to go after a star to pair with Rose. But that will not make the next couple of seasons a lot of fun in Chicago.