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February 18, 2010

Bulls get busy in pair of deals

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bradford Doolittle @ 2:11 pm

After apparently losing out in the battle to land Tracy McGrady‘s massive expiring contract, the Bulls swung a couple of deals that not only may have boosted their cap fortunes as much as a McGrady deal might have, but also allowed Chicago to create that additional flexibility without punting the rest of the 2009-10 season.

Last night, Bulls swingman John Salmons was ordered to remain at the team’s hotel in New York while his teammates were taking on the Knicks. Salmons was told he’d be traded but the destination wouldn’t be known until the morning. Word that the Bucks were the partners in the deal emerged before the evening was over, however. Initially, it was thought that the Bulls would be getting veteran big men Kurt Thomas and Fernando Elson back from Milwaukee, but this morning that pair turned into apparent bust Joe Alexander and Hakim Warrick.

That left the Bulls with the task of moving talented but perpetually disgrunted forward Tyrus Thomas. This morning, reports emerged that the Bulls found a taker. Thomas is headed to Charlotte for Acie Law, Flip Murray and a future first-round pick.

This was well played by Bulls general manager Gar Forman and his boss, John Paxson. The contracts of Warrick, Alexander, Law and Murray all expire after this season. The Bulls will also shed the contracts of Brad Miller, Jerome James, Jannero Pargo, Lindsey Hunter, Devin Brown and Chris Richard.

That leaves Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Luol Deng and James Johnson as the only players under contract–a solid core group to attract the max free agent that Chicago now has room for. However, Chicago is well short of the needed cap space to bring into two max players. To get to that level, Chicago would need to finder a taker for Deng or Hinrich, which seems unlikely without Thomas still around to package.

For the Bucks, Salmons gives the team a wing scorer to fill the role that Jerry Stackhouse has been unable to do justice. It also give them a bit of protection if Michael Redd should opt out of his contract.

As for Charlotte, the Bobcats may looking at the luxury tax if they want to re-sign Thomas off the restricted market. In the short term, Thomas gives Larry Brown another athlete, but he’d already been getting solid play in a similar role from rookie Derrick Brown. (To be fair, Thomas is considerably futher along.) Also, with Murray gone, Charlotte may have to turn to little-used rookie Gerald Henderson to fill out the backcourt rotation.

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