When Marquis Teague was drafted, many people took a step back. It was expected that the Bulls would use the draft to try and find a shooting guard to run along side Derrick Rose at some point in the next few years, or at the very least take a combo-guard to fill in for Rose while he’s out, then take a bench role as the heir-apparent to the shooting guard position.
But ever since being drafted, he’s been growing on Bulls fans and Bulls brass alike, just like all other players to stroll through the Windy City that possess a considerable amount of talent.
Teague wasn’t drafted to be a lights out superstar that will threaten Rose’s rule as the face of the franchise, but he was drafted to be a key part of this team. That’s extremely good news for Teague, and based on his recent play it’s looking like a great move by the Bulls front office.
However, it’s not so good news for Nate Robinson.
This isn’t to say Robinson isn’t playing well. But when Derrick Rose comes back, the Bulls won’t be hot on the idea of carrying four point guards on roster when one is too short to be involved in any defensive rotations as a shooting guard. Robinson does give the Bulls rotational depth in terms of offense, but it makes too much sense to keep him. Remember the front office we’re dealing with here, a front office that didn’t earn a lot of faith this offseason.
When the Bulls signed Robinson near the end of the summer (a story that was buried by the Olympics), they signed him to a deal that didn’t kick in as fully guaranteed until January 10th. This wasn’t a coincidence, it was actually a calculated move by Gar Forman and John Paxson — are you surprised?
The idea was that if the Bulls are impressed with Nate Robinson, or in other words if they needed Robinson, they would keep him on board for the rest of the season. If Robinson slumped, or someone stepped up, the Bulls could cut Robinson loose and not have to pay a penalty for doing so.
This isn’t a basketball decision though, so don’t be fooled. Chicago is $3 million into the red, aka the Luxury Tax. The Bulls have never in the history of their existence paid a luxury tax and they’re really not tickled by the idea of spoiling that streak this year. Robinson signed a $1.14 million contract in August and his total cap hit is $854,389.
There’s no question that the Bulls would love to get that off the books.
If they can shed the $3 million before the end of the season, the Bulls will not have to pay the luxury tax. The rise of Marquis Teague is not only good news for Bulls fans, but it’s a lovely smoke screen for the front office to continue making “basketball decisions”.