Bulls In Lead To Sign D.J. Augustin

WEDNESDAY, 4:20pm: Augustin has cleared waivers, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

TUESDAY, 11:49am: The Bulls are the clear leaders to sign D.J. Augustin when he clears waivers Wednesday, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Augustin was a victim of a numbers crunch in Toronto, where the Raptors had to release a player to fit under the 15-man roster limit to accommodate yesterday’s Rudy Gay trade.

Augustin is on a one-year contract worth a guaranteed $1.267MM, not much more than what the minimum salary for the five-year veteran would be, so it’s conceivable a team could claim him off waivers. The capped-out Bulls can’t make a claim, so they’d likely sign him to a non-guaranteed pact for the minimum-salary if he hits free agency. Perhaps another club could resort to a waiver claim to thwart Chicago’s attempt to sign him, though that’s just my speculation.

Derrick Rose‘s injury has left the Bulls shorthanded at point guard, where the backups to Kirk Hinrich are disappointing second-year man Marquis Teague, whom the Bulls shopped in trade talks before the season, and 38-year-old journeyman Mike James. James hasn’t played in more than a week as he recovers from a sprained knee, and with two roster spots available, the team is looking to bolster its depth at the position, Wojnarowski writes. Augustin has had his own struggles the past two seasons, flaming out as a backup for the Pacers in 2012/13 before averaging just 8.2 minutes per game in 10 appearances for the Raptors this year.

The Raptors would benefit if a team claimed Augustin off waivers, since they’ll otherwise be on the hook for the contract they signed with the Thad Foucher client. They could still see some relief if he becomes a free agent and signs with the Bulls or another team, since that might allow Toronto to defray the cost of its contract with Augustin via set-off rights.

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