Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Here is some specifics on the Pippen negotiations:
"Contract-wise, the Bulls are prepared to offer the entire mid-level exception, which was set at $4.917 million late Tuesday when the NBA's league office released its salary-cap information. That exception is slightly higher than expected, and that could aid the Bulls' efforts to sign Pippen if the management position issue doesn't become a sticking point. The Bulls are pushing for Pippen to decide Wednesday so they can pursue other options—Ira Newble and perhaps Corie Blount—if needed. Friday could be the latest that the Bulls wait on Pippen. That may not be enough time for Pippen to hear from Portland. The Trail Blazers are expected to hire John Nash as general manager on Wednesday. But with a payroll well in excess of the $52.9 million luxury tax, it remains unclear whether Portland will make an offer. Pippen still talks positively of general manager John Paxson's pitch to return to Chicago but has maintained that Portland is his first choice. Pippen has ruled out Dallas, so his options are limited."
So it's going to be a pressure-filled week for Paxson. How long can he wait until the new Portland GM makes an offer (if any) to Pippen? And for that matter, how long can Pippen wait before the Bulls offer is off the table? Getting a new GM certainly helps Portland's chances of retaining Pippen, but I wouldn't be suprised if the he is ordered to keep payroll down as first priority.