is back with the Bulls
after a brief, all-expenses paid trip to Iowa. (Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
Just when you thought Marquis Teague was out, the Bulls pulled him back in.
On Tuesday, Chicago's second-year point guard learned he was being sent down to the Iowa Energy, the team's D-League affiliate, in order to receive more playing time. Teague had recently lost his spot in the rotation and the team's backup point guard job to veteran Mike James.
But the team's priorities changed drastically just a few hours later when it learned James would be sidelined at least a week with a sprained MCL, an injury he suffered in warmups, according to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. Now in need of a point guard to backup starter Kirk Hinrich, the team had a change of heart and decided to bring back its young point guard -- on the same day.
"It was crazy," Teague said after Bulls practice on Wednesday. "As soon as I landed they told me to come right back."
While flying to Iowa and back doesn't sound like the best way to spend a Tuesday (the frequent flyer miles aren't worth it), Teague said he wasn't too bothered by the Bulls' back-and-forth.
"Actually, I wasn’t as upset as people probably thought I was because I was going to get a chance to play quality minutes," Teague told the Tribune. "But I got called back so I was happy about that. I gotta come back here and just work hard."
The team made the transaction official on Wednesday and Teague practiced with the team.
Thibodeau downplayed the team's decision to briefly demote Teague:
"I think he’s in a good place," Thibodeau said. "That wasn’t about punishment. That was about playing time. Because it’s so close we can call him back after a day, and we ended up doing that. But we talked about that before we even sent him down. We talked about him getting some playing time would be good. We have confidence in him, he’s just got to be ready to go. That was never a long-term situation. It was done with the idea of him getting some playing time.’’
With Derrick Rose out for the season after just 10 games, the Bulls find themselves surprisingly thin at the point. Hinrich, 33, has been thrust into a starting role and the 38-year-old James was outplaying Teague before suffering the temporary setback.
Whether Teague, 20, can hold onto the backup job is up to him. He's struggled mightily in his first nine games as a second-year-pro, averaging 1.2 points in 8.9 minutes and shooting just 16.7 percent from the field. He's totaled more than twice as many turnovers (nine) as baskets (four) and has yet to earn coach Tom Thibodeau's trust judging by his recent demotion.