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Chicago Bulls Salary Cap: Larry Coon says Bulls trying to stay under tax, is that even possible?

ESPNChicago's (and good-natured nemesis) Nick Friedell was on Jonathan Hood's AM1000 show on Wednesday night. It was nice to hear Bulls talk, but it was mostly lightly-informed and likely only further dumbed-down the conversation. I'll link the edited show with the hour of Bulls talk after the jump. Some of it was so galling that I wanted to do a thorough dismantling of their 'Bulls have no money' (seriously, this is how they phrased it) stance, their incapability of understanding the 'hard cap' of the luxury tax apron, and complete disregarding of the idea of making a trade, but it's stuff we already know here.

ANYWAY, I appreciate they had an actual CBA expert on in Larry Coon (though they later misunderstood some of his answers) to inform on the Asik offer sheet, the changing exceptions, luxury tax, and other issues facing the Bulls this offseason. Coon isn't a reporter but certainly has contacts and has been in Vegas this week, and had this to say about the Bulls specifically:

From what I'm hearing, they're just dead-set against paying the tax at all, and they're trying to make their moves with being a non-taxpayer as one of their principal concerns. And that seems like what they're doing.

It does seem like it! They signed Vlad Radmanovic! (though I don't mind that signing in a vacuum, he's not that awful in a vet minimum way)

But this will be tough for the 10-time Defending Financial Championship Dynasty. Bulls Confidential did the follow-up cap situation to the VladRad signing, and it's looking like the tax is unavoidable, unless they can petition the league to only have 10 players on the roster. Since the end of the season, we did our own recalibration factoring in Derrick Rose's raise, but there were a couple more mistakes from that prior post:

  • There is no 'rookie minimum' in terms of the tax calculation, unless they're your own draft picks. So Vlad Radmanovic and summer-league invite Malcolm Thomas would make the same 2-year minimum figure. This is another reason the Bulls should've bought into the 2nd round of this past draft, though I suppose that's all 'effective payroll' as much as paying the tax would be.
  • The roster minimum is 13, not 12.

I now have the same figures as they do. Even signing all minimum guys puts the Bulls $1.43m over the tax. They still have until the trade deadline to make a move to get them back under. And as Doug points out on his post, the fear of triggering the 'repeater' number in 4 years is really far-fetched, so going deeper into it for this next season to keep (and potentially acquire more) assets before stiffer penalties kick in makes sense, though not to certain radio hosts.

And between the Darko rumors, and the one surfacing about trying to sign Taj to an extension (that wouldn't kick in until after this season, but I'm sure they want us to know they have money they want to spend 'elsewhere'), along with a tax bill coming, an Asik match is looking less likely.


Below is the audio of the Bullstalk portion of their show. Ultimately, they wanted to raise the discourse of the 'common' Bulls fan that doesn't get that the Bulls can't sign free agents, and indeed the first caller asked about claiming Luis Scola off of amnesty waivers. That's fine, but don't act smug and start giggling-ly pandering when you yourselves struggle to get the entire picture.

(And that's just the CBA aspect, there's also the issue of 'basketball hell' and the idea that the Bulls shouldn't try to improve because they can't improve enough. And bizarre desire to simultaneously not want to rebuild too much's a lot of weird, poor, opinions, actually.)