By all accounts, Marquis Teague is entering his second year having had a productive offseason, including some solid performances in Summer League. He hasn’t done very much this preseason though, even getting extra time in the wake of Derrick Rose’s absence on Saturday.
As the 3rd point guard behind Rose and Hinrich, Teague is already getting possibly pushed out of a job. Aggrey Sam broached the subject on Friday:
[Thibs's] familiarity with Mike James doesn’t bode well for Marquis, who was already behind Kirk on the depth chart at point guard. Mike and Kirk can play both guard positions and are experienced veterans who understand exactly what Thibs expects from them. I think Marquis is talented and he has upper-echelon speed, even on the NBA level, but on a team with championship expectations, I don’t see Thibs playing him for a regular, substantial amount of minutes just for the sake of development…
I’d completely understand if Mike made the team, as the Bulls are in win-now mode and I don’t think he would have even come to camp if there wasn’t a strong indication that he had a good chance of making the regular-season roster after becoming the starting point guard in Dallas down the stretch of last season. But if that does happen, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marquis was wearing another uniform by February.
Sam had said all along that the Mike James camp invite shouldn’t be seen as a nothing-move, and I understand the point (no pun intended) of Thibs wanting more certainty out of an emergency-PG spot. Though you wonder if the likely Hinrich injuries would free up minutes for Teague to improve during the course of the season to at least get to Mike James level.
That mention of Teague above is on the heels of our own (on certain days of the week) Mark Deeks publishing a column on rookie-scale options that may not be picked up. Teague is mentioned as already being shopped and leads the ‘probably not’ pick-up list. Even though Teague’s cap number is extremely low, it is still technically higher than a minimum-salary that James would make, which the over-the-tax Bulls are undoubtedly mindful for. I suppose it also frees up cap room for 2014, though only about as much as they wasted doing the stretch provision with Rip’s buyout.
When it comes to actually trading Teague, there are no firm rumors yet. Marc Stein reported over the weekend that the Jazz had previously shown interest (and just lost rookie Trey Burke), and KC Johnson today throws in Minnesota as another team that once pursued Teague.
There certainly seems to be something to the story that Mike James is simply outperforming Teague in Thibodeau’s eyes this training camp. So I wouldn’t be that surprised if a trade is their next move, especially if a team is willing to give up a future first-round pick. The Bulls have done this before with Thabo Sefolosha, James Johnson, and Tyrus Thomas. The Bulls draft well but not all later-round picks can be Gibson and Butler, and if the Bulls are already starting to give up on Marquis it may be best to salvage a first-rounder now.
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