The trade of Luol Deng signaled the beginning of a Bulls rebuild, and rebuilds typically don’t limit themselves to one player. There are reports that the Bulls are planning on using the amnesty clause to rid themselves of Carlos Boozer’s contract following the season, but odds are other veteran Bulls will find themselves on new teams before Boozer does.
Once Luol was traded other NBA general managers could smell blood in the water and have begun swimming toward the source. There are two veterans in particular that other teams seem interested in, and odds are the Bulls won’t mind parting ways with either if the price is right.
I’ll start with the news that will please the Bulls fans I know the most, which is that Kirk Hinrich could soon be leaving his “home in the area.”
While forward Carlos Boozer could be waived via the league’s amnesty clause during the offseason as yet another way to clear the Bulls’ books, it appears point guard Kirk Hinrich will be drawing the most immediate interest when it comes to the Bulls’ possible next move. According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Golden State Warriors are among teams that had been showing serious interest in Hinrich long before the Deng trade. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because trade talks are typically private.
Amick reports that the Warriors are “among teams” showing interest, but doesn’t mention who those teams are in his report. Instead he focuses on the Warriors, who could also be interested in Denver’s Andre Miller.
Amick did not stop with Hinrich and the Warriors, however, as he also had this to say on Wednesday.
According to a person with knowledge of the Rockets’ thinking, Chicago Bulls small forward Mike Dunleavy is high on their wish list as the deadline nears. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because a team’s plans aren’t typically discussed publicly. The Rockets haven’t acted on this impulse just yet, as a person with knowledge of the Bulls’ dealings said Houston has yet to call to discuss a possible deal. And while Chicago’s trade of Luol Deng to Cleveland this week had rival executives wondering if the Bulls would now continue breaking up their band, Dunleavy – who signed as a free agent last summer – is held in extremely high regard by his current bosses and there will certainly be a hefty price to pay for anyone who comes calling.
Now, I don’t know about you, but any time I hear NBA trade rumors about the Bulls I head over to the Trade Machine and start getting to work. I’ll start with the Dunleavy-Rockets rumor because I just had a difficult time finding a deal that I felt worked under NBA salary cap rules and also worked as a deal I actually think the Rockets would do.
I started by reaching for the stars, knowing full well this would never happen.
Bring back Omer!
As for realistic deals, it wasn’t as simple because there’s something important to remember here. As far as the Bulls are concerned, they don’t need to trade Dunleavy. He’s cheap and only signed through next season. So he wouldn’t hold the rebuild process back in any significant manner. In order for this trade to happen it has to actually make sense for the Bulls, and here’s a deal I came up with that definitely works and might even make sense.
Now in this deal the Bulls would get two bigs in return for Dunleavy, though I highly doubt there’d be a draft pick coming with them. Greg Smith is 23 and playing a limited role on the Rockets, averaging just over eight minutes a game, though they’re a productive eight minutes as his 14.9 PER shows. The other piece in this deal would be Donatus Motiejunas who is also 23, and hasn’t been nearly as productive as Smith, but could be an interesting project for the Bulls.
He’s a seven-footer, so if we can’t get Omer Asik back, maybe Thibs can mold himself a new Omer. The reason I targeted these bigs is because if the Bulls do amnesty Boozer this offseason, and Taj Gibson moves into the starting lineup, it’d be nice to have young size coming off the bench behind them.
Now let’s move on to Kirk Hinrich. Frankly I don’t care what the Bulls get in return, I think it’d be better for both the Bulls and Hinrich to part ways. He simply can’t handle the role he’s being asked to handle here now that Derrick Rose is out and would be better served as a backup behind Steph Curry in Oakland.
The first deal was just trading Hinrich to Golden State for their $4 million trade exception — which is included in the deal pictured above, though it’s not shown — on Brandon Rush along with a draft pick. Or, if the Warriors want to send a player as well to help ease their own cap situation, you can always include some dead weight like Toney Douglass and the best hype man in the business, Kent Bazemore. Both are in the final years of their deal and would help fill minutes for the Bulls the rest of this season without the risk of adding wins to the Bulls record.
So it’d be a win win. The Warriors get the backup point guard they lost when Jarret Jack went to Cleveland, and the Bulls get salary relief and a few more losses heading into the draft lottery.
Whether or not any of these deals ever come to fruition remains to be seen, but I think they make sense for the Bulls in that they help with the rebuild yet don’t carry all that much risk with them either. Everything is manageable.
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