There's a fine print element to the point guard rotation that is currently under scrutiny because of rookie Marquis Teague's solid play when given extended minutes.
It's called Nate Robinson's non-guaranteed contract.
The Bulls signed the veteran guard to a deal that doesn't become fully guaranteed until Jan. 10. That means they can waive Robinson with no penalty any time before that date, an option that always has been under consideration internally.
Teague's development, not to mention Derrick Rose's expected return, could make Robinson expendable.
In a twist, coach Tom Thibodeau opened the second quarter using Teague at point guard and Robinson at shooting guard. The new rotational look occurred because the Celtics utilize several small lineups. It didn't last long, and Robinson remained in the game as Kirk Hinrich's backup.
Robinson played well during the entire second quarter and finished with 18 points and four assists in 13 minutes in the 100-89 victory.
League sources indicate that veteran shooting guard Richard Hamilton has been offered in trade scenarios, efforts that could intensity as the Feb. 21 trade deadline nears.
With a minimal guarantee on a team option for next season, Hamilton's salary is in essence an expiring contract, which could make him attractive to teams looking to add scoring punch near the deadline.
The Bulls' current payroll of $73,548,450 stands $3,241,450 above the luxury tax threshold. But penalties are assessed based on team payrolls at season's end. The Bulls never have paid the luxury tax.
Butter fingers: The Bulls committed just three first-half turnovers, which has been a problem area most of the season. They entered ranked 22nd league-wide at 15.56 per game and finished with 12 against the Celtics.
"The intentions are good," Thibodeau said. "We're trying to move the ball and play unselfishly. But there are too many home run passes instead of simple passes. Hit the first open man and let him make the play."
Layups: Asked light-heartedly if the United Center was ready for Brian Scalabrine's analysis on CSN New England, Thibodeau cracked, "Nobody's ready for that." … Carlos Boozer will present gifts he purchased to kids at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago on Wednesday.