Bulls likely to face competition for D.J. Augustin in free agency

Written By BY JOE COWLEY Staff Reporter Posted: 02/09/2014, 02:43am
Array Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin goes up for a shot during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

OAKLAND, Calif. — The failure of the Marquis Teague experiment has yet to affect the Bulls.

The impact is coming this summer, though.

After drafting Teague in 2012 to be the backup point guard to Derrick Rose, the Bulls traded him last month. With Rose injured, that has left them with Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin, both of whom will be eligible for free agency this offseason.

The good news is Augustin wants to return and seems ready to give the Bulls a bit of a discount, considering they took him off the unemployment line in December after he was waived by the Toronto Raptors and helped him resurrect his career.

‘‘I’m definitely thankful for the opportunity Chicago gave me,’’ Augustin said. ‘‘You remember things like that, just that they gave me a chance. And then once I got here, coach Thibs [Tom Thibodeau] has given me a chance to play a lot of minutes, so it’s worked out well for me. You’re thankful for that.’’

Just how thankful is yet to be determined.

Thibodeau’s ability to get maximum talent out of players also prices them out of the Bulls’ reach when they become free agents (see Nate Robinson and Marco Belinelli last offseason). That might be the case for Augustin once he hits the open market.

‘‘I definitely would like to be here [for the] long term,’’ Augustin said. ‘‘I would love to be a starter again, but I want to be on a winning team, I want to be in a winning organization. Chicago is definitely those two things. When the summertime comes, that’s when I’m going to have to weigh everything.’’

Player of the week

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers power forward: February has been good for Griffin so far. He entered play Friday averaging 34.7 points, 12.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists since the calendar flipped last week.

Team of the week

Miami Heat: Much like it did at this point last season, the Heat is starting to get that swagger. It trounced the New York Knicks in the Garden and, more impressively, beat the Clippers in Los Angeles.

The big five

1. Heat, 2. Oklahoma City Thunder, 3. Indiana Pacers, 4. San Antonio Spurs, 5. Portland Trail Blazers.

Awful for Andrew

The three teams bad enough to start tanking in hopes of drafting Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins: 1. Milwaukee Bucks, 2. Orlando Magic, 3. Philadelphia 76ers.

Big number

30 Number of consecutive games (entering play Saturday) in which Golden State Warriors teammates Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson each have made a three-pointer, an NBA record.

Two to watch

Thunder at Trail Blazers, 9 p.m. Tuesday: Kevin Durant leads the Thunder against a group of upstarts seeking respect.

Heat at Warriors, 9:30 p.m. Wednesday: The defending champions have had an easy schedule so far this season, but this West Coast trip is a big test.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

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