Bulls Summer League team wins again - McDermott struggles, Snell shines, Bairstow contract rumors

Bulls Summer League team wins again - McDermott struggles, Snell shines, Bairstow contract rumors

The Bulls Summer League team finally lost a quarter Thursday, but overall they did just enough to defeat the Sixers Summer League squad 79-68. The win moves the Bulls Summer League team into the Vegas quarterfinals, where they will meet the Kings on Saturday at 7 PM CT. The game will be broadcast live on NBA-TV.

Doug McDermott struggled throughout this one, he looked like he was very tired and sluggish. Mostly this showed up in his shots, because even when he was wide open they all seemed to be missing short. He only scored 11 points on 3/10 shooting, including 1/6 from three-point range.

Bulls Summer League Game 4 Box Score

Tony Snell continued his impressive play, and this was without a doubt his best all-around performance for the Bulls Summer League team. He finished with a team-high (tied with Cameron Bairstow) 18 points on 5/11 shooting (2/5 on 3's), but he also contributed 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocked shots. His defense was outstanding once again, and he continued to show some very nice ball-handling skills.

snell bullsville

Chicago Tribune Image

Through four games, Snell is now tied for fourth in scoring during the Vegas Summer League, averaging 20.0 points per game on 47.5% shooting from the field. His jumper looks vastly improved since last season, obviously Tony worked on it quite a bit over the summer - he had now knocked down 14/28 three-point shots and is sporting a very impressive .618 true shooting percentage.

Personally, I am most impressed with his ball-handling. His long arms and smooth stride remind me of a young Scottie Pippen, and while nobody expects Snell to develop into a Hall of Famer, I can certainly see where he can dribble well enough to play a little bit of point guard before very long.

He does a terrific job of staying down and keeping his dribble low to the ground, which combine with his length to make it very difficult to steal the ball from him. Of course this is just the Bulls Summer League part of the schedule, and before we get too excited we'll need to see him do this against actual NBA talent first.

The best rookie on the floor tonight was easily second-round pick Cameron Bairstow. And that was before he very surprisingly swished a corner '3' to beat the shot clock late in the contest. It's also saying something, as his numbers were better than the Sixers' Nerlens Noel, who still qualifies as a rookie after sitting out all of last season recovering from ACL surgery.

Bairstow came into the game having scored only 25 points in the first 3 Bulls Summer League games, but his team-high 18 tonight was accompanied by a game-high eight rebounds. He also got to the free throw line 13 times, knocking down 11 of them in only 22 minutes of playing time.

There is a report that was tweeted by David Pick of Eurobasket that says the Bulls have offered Bairstow a three-year contract. While it's highly unusual for a player picked in the lower half of the second round to be offered a three-year deal, the Bulls did really want Bairstow, so it's certainly possible (and really, there is no reason at all to doubt the report).

The overwhelming majority of second-round picks who sign NBA contracts do so with their team using a minimum salary exception. Like any other exception, this one allows a team to exceed the salary cap to sign a player. According to Larry Coon's CBA FAQ, the minimum salary exception can only be used for a two-year contract. Not three.

Of course the Bulls went under the salary cap this summer, meaning they can use cap space to sign Bairstow, in which case he is allowed to sign a contract that is up to four years in length.

cameron bairstow bullsville

Chicago Tribune Image

A minimum salary contract signed this summer would pay Bairstow $1,352,395 for the first two years. If he signs for three years at the minimum, the total of the contract would come to $2,073,231 over three years.

If Bairstow only signed for two years, he would be eligible for this contract:

  • 2014-15: $507,336
  • 2015-16: $845,059
  • 2016-17: $1,180,431 $1,014,746

The third year of that deal listed in red would not be an actual contract figure, that is the amount of the qualifying offer the Bulls would have to make so that Bairstow becomes a restricted free agent. He could then sign a larger deal for the third season and the Bulls would have Early Bird rights on him, meaning they could pay him as much as 104.5% of whatever the average salary was in 2015-16.

If he signs a 3-year deal, the 2nd figure would be his actual salary (the league minimum for that season).

The Bulls can make the third year of the contract a player option, in which case Bairstow could opt out and still use Early Bird rights in the summer of 2016. But that's showing a huge amount of respect to such a low draft pick, as in almost all other cases the third year of a contract like this would be a team option instead of a player option.

I'm not going to venture a guess as to how much of this money will be guaranteed, as I cannot personally attest to how much the front office loves Bairstow. I do know that the Bulls fielded offers of up to $1 million or more to sell the pick, and that they strongly considered trading up in the draft because there were rumblings that he might not be available at #49.

“We were actually trying to move around and move up (in the draft) to make sure we got him,” Forman said.

With no luxury tax concerns this season, I would expect the Bulls to fully guarantee the first year of Bairstow's deal - which is pretty good for a player drafted as low as he was (and whose agent has already said that Cameron has no desire whatsoever to play in Europe for a year).

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    Don Ellis started covering sports professionally when he was 15. He attended Ball State University, and some of his past credits include InsideHoops (NBA Runaround, The NBA According to Ellis) and ESPN Florida (The Florida Sports Reporters, SportsCenter anchor) . In addition to running Bullsville.net and ChicagoSportsWriters.com, and writing for ChicagoNow and SportsBlog.com, he is also a KHSAA and semi-pro baseball umpire. He's a 3rd-generation Cubs fan, a Bulls fan since the days of Van Lier and Sloan, and a life-long New England Patriots fan. Follow Don on Twitter @Bullsville.

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