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February 18, 2009

CHI-POR-SAC Deal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 7:06 pm

First reported by NBA.com’s David Aldridge and elaborated upon elsewhere, it appears the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings have completed a deal, with an undercard between the Kings and the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Bulls send out  Drew Gooden, Andres Nocioni, Michael Ruffin and Cedric Simmons, bringing back Brad Miller and John Salmons from Sacramento. The Kings will get Nocioni and the expiring contracts of Gooden, Simmons and Portland’s Ike Diogu. Portland sends out Diogu plus cash (to Sacramento) and gets Ruffin. With the help of three great blogs covering these teams (Blog-A-Bull, Sactown Royalty and Blazer’s Edge), as well as the redoubtable Sam Amick, let’s work through this deal.
We’d heard talk of Chicago adding salary in a potential Amar’e Stoudemire deal (those talks presumably dying before this deal came to fruitition), but I’m surprised to see the Bulls take on the contracts of Miller and Ruffin in an attempt to win now and next season. Miller, going into his second tour of duty in Chicago, gives the team a legitimate center and creates what should be a solid three-man frontcourt rotation with Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah (and, hopefully, means the last of rotation minutes for Aaron Gray). Salmons steps into Nocioni’s spot behind and alongside Luol Deng, probably cutting into Thabo Sefolosha‘s playing time as well.

The net result is to boost the Bulls’ chances of catching Milwaukee for the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The worry is that by adding a little over $10 million in salary for next season, Chicago will probably be unable to re-sign Ben Gordon without going into luxury-tax territory. Miller’s deal expires in the summer of 2010, while Salmons’ contract is a year shorter than Nocioni’s and slightly less lucrative.

Sacramento gets cap relief, pure and simple, saving the $10 million the Bulls add. Miller and Salmons are attractive enough as players that you would have hoped the Kings could have gotten a first-round pick out of this kind of deal. The alternative of holding on to them and continuing to struggle was extremely unattractive, however. The future frontcourt of Shock (Jason Thompson) and (Spencer) Hawes can now take over in Sacramento, with the Kings likely to finish with the worst record in the Western Conference after dealing two starters.

The Blazers’ position in all of this is slightly more nebulous. Dealing Diogu saves them money against the luxury tax, while they’ve also created a trade exception that could be put to use in the next 21 hours. We’ll see what, if anything, Kevin Pritchard has up his sleeve between now and tomorrow’s deadline.

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