If you get a spare moment, take a look at the Chicago Bulls‘ current salary cap situation. The four highest salaries on the roster belong to Derrick Rose ($17.6 million), Carlos Boozer ($15.3 million), Joakim Noah ($11.1 million), and Taj Gibson ($7.5 million).
Compared to those four players, D.J. Augustin is paid the third lowest salary on the Bulls’ roster, at just over $700,000. Only Erik Murphy and Jimmer Fredette make less money this season.
Back in December, the Bulls signed Augustin off the free agent wire after he was released by the Toronto Raptors. A few years prior, he was a first round draft choice who was the starting point guard for the Charlotte Bobcats.
For $700,000, the Bulls acquired the steal of the season, and also the savior of their season. In 10 games for Toronto, Augustin only averaged just over two points per game. Since joining the Bulls, his ppg average has risen to 14.3 while mostly coming off the bench. Two games ago, he scored a career high 33 points against the Boston Celtics. Tonight against the Atlanta Hawks, he added 23 points (four made three pointers) in a Bulls win.
Now that Augustin has pumped life back into his career while playing on this one-year deal, it will be up to the Bulls to make certain that he doesn’t slip away from them into free agency. He has vocalized his desire to remain with the team, and his teammates want him back as well. It would certainly benefit both sides to get a deal done.
With Kirk Hinrich’s contract also expiring after this season, retaining both guards is a sure fire way to ensure that Rose will have some necessary support in the backcourt. Once again, he will need to be slowly reintegrated into the system after he was shut down for practically the second straight season. This also gives the Bulls necessary insurance in case the unforeseen happens to Rose once again.
It will cost the Bulls to keep Augustin, but getting him a new deal has to be made a priority this offseason. I don’t think they want him playing against them for the foreseeable future.