NBA@2: Chicago Bulls Right at Hard Cap
The Chicago Bulls finally inked Marquis Teague to his contract, the last of the 2012 first-rounders to sign.
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, Teague accepted less than the standard 120 percent bump over his rookie scale contract, instead taking 100 percent at $857k as the 29th pick.
As previously detailed on the Bulls’ team salary page, the team has a hard cap of $74.3 million because they used their Mid-Level Exception ($3.9 million of it) on Kirk Hinrich and their Bi-Annual Exception ($1.957) on Marco Belinelli.
Under the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, either trigger locks in the hard cap at $4 million above the tax line.
With Teague, Chicago has $73,548,450 in salary locked in for the coming year with 13 players. Free-agent signing Nate Robinson’s deal is partially guaranteed (amount TBD), which could change the numbers slightly, but the Bulls are all but spent out.
If they want to add a player, the most Chicago can pay is the $473,604 rookie minimum.
Since there is no way around the hard cap, the Bulls can look to trade or buyout a player – like Rip Hamilton – but otherwise there’s no room to bring in a veteran at the minimum Chicago was linked, through the rumor mill, to Tracy McGrady but that wouldn’t be possible without a corresponding cut in salary.
The Bulls also have a $5 million trade exception after sending Kyle Korver to the Atlanta Hawks, but they won’t be able to use it until after the season given the hard cap.
The NBA Players Union fought against a hard restriction but technically it’s a self-made problem for the Bulls. Had they used their Korver trade exception to acquire Hinrich via sign-and-trade and used their Mini-Mid Level Exception (up to $3.09 million) on Belinelli, the Bulls would not have the hard cap.
Chicago is also about $3.2 million over the luxury tax line, a fate they’ve long-avoided.
New General Manager in Utah
The Utah Jazz officially announced the hiring of Dennis Lindsey as general manager.
Lindsey, previously with the San Antonio Spurs, will still work with outgoing-GM Kevin O’Connor, who has been promoted to executive vice president of basketball operations.
“I am honored that we have one of the league’s preeminent basketball minds in Kevin O’Connor working as our executive vice president of basketball operations. The addition of Dennis to the Jazz front office staff further demonstrates the Miller family’s commitment to this franchise,” said Utah Jazz president Randy Rigby. “He will be a key element of our basketball operations staff that we already believe is the best in the league. In addition, he brings with him valuable experience from two championship-level organizations and we appreciate the Spurs allowing us the opportunity to interview him.”
It’s a crucial time for the Jazz who battled late in the season to claim the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference before being defeated by the San Antonio Spurs in four games.
Utah will probably have about $25.3 million in salary going into next year’s offseason (depending on rookie options, etc.). Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Mo Williams (among others) will hit free agency in July (barring extensions).
Lindsey will handle the day-to-day operations on the player-personnel side. O’Conner will still have an impact moving forward.
“The addition of Dennis improves the Jazz not only for the upcoming season, but for many years to come,” said Greg Miller, CEO of the Utah Jazz. “Dennis is an outstanding fit for the Jazz family as well as our community.”
Before spending five years with the Spurs, Lindsey put in over a decade with the Houston Rockets.
“Dennis is a proven talent evaluator whose experience will be a real asset to the Jazz organization,” said O’Connor. “He is a high-character individual who is well respected around the league and I look forward to working with him on a daily basis.”
Ivan Johnson Still a Restricted Free Agent
The Atlanta Hawks have locked in the bulk of their roster for the coming season with 12 players under guaranteed contracts. One player still in limbo is 6’8 power forward Ivan Johnson.
The Hawks issued an offer sheet to Johnson for $962,195 and since they’re not in possession of his Bird or Early-Bird Rights, that’s the most they can pay him without using an exception.
The Mid-Level Exception was used on Lou Williams, which locked in a hard cap of $74.3 million. While the Hawks cannot exceed that number under any circumstances, at $64.6 million in salary, they aren’t close enough to be concerned.
That leaves the team’s Bi-Annual Exception of $1.957 million for Johnson if the Hawks are to pay him more than his offer sheet.
Another team could lure him away without restriction with an offer of $1.958 million and the Hawks would have no opportunity to stop it.
Johnson played 16.7 minutes a night through 56 games, averaging 6.4 points and four boards.
The minimum salary for Johnson is $762,195, less than what Atlanta has offered.
For a complete breakdown, check out the Hawks’ team salary page.
Pondexter Putting in the Work
HOOPSWORLD recently caught up with Memphis Grizzlies forward Quincy Pondexter as he helped work with some of the young players at adidas Nations.
Pondexter was traded to the Grizzlies by the New Orleans Hornets right before last year’s abbreviated season began. He played 15.7 minutes a night over 64 games while shooting 45.2 percent from the field.
A capable perimeter defender, Pondexter made the most of his playoff minutes in the first round against the Los Angeles Clippers, shooting 66.7 percent from the field in the team’s defeat over seven games.
To improve his individual game, he’s already put in a “grueling” offseason.
“I’ve been really putting myself to the test, and really been working hard on the little aspects of my game that have to improve,” said Pondexter. “I just want to come in and contribute as much as I possibly can, hopefully help our team get a little further than we did last year. I’m just so excited to represent the Memphis Grizzlies next season.”
The Grizzlies won 41 games last year, finishing fourth in the Western Conference. Heading into 2012-13, Memphis should be among the top five teams in the West and a dangerous foe once the playoffs arrive.
Lawsuit: Stopping Gambling Before it Starts in New Jersey
The NBA, joined with the NCAA, MLB, NFL and NHL, filed a complaint on Tuesday against New Jersey state officials to try and stop the state from allowing “sports betting on pro and college games.”
The combined leagues argue that a recent decision by the state of New Jersey to offer sports betting violates the “Bradley Act” of 1992.
According to a release issued by the NBA, the Bradley Act (or the Professional and Amateur Protection Act as it’s more formally known), allowed a one-year window back in 1993 for states to authorize sports betting.
The claim stipulates that a January 17th, 2012 New Jersey law allowing such activities is in direct violation of the Bradley Act.
The leagues also argue that “gambling on amateur and professional sports threatens the integrity of those sports and is fundamentally at odds with the principle . . . that the outcomes of collegiate and professional athletic contests must be determined, and must be perceived by the public as being determined, solely on the basis of honest athletic competition.”
Currently there is no legal sports betting in New Jersey but the process started in January is expected to be completed by “mid-September or early October.”
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