The Chicago Bulls have a deal in place that would move Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to the Washington Wizards, freeing up enough cap space to pursue two maximum-salary players in this summer's free-agent market, sources with knowledge of the Bulls' plans said Thursday.Ruh-roh.
The Bulls scared me before this deal and now I'm absolutely terrified.
If this deal goes through and the Bulls are able to sign two max guys, I can't even blame LeBron for leaving. Can you? Seriously, Derek Rose, Joakim Noah, LeBron and someone of the Wade/Bosh/Amare/Joe Johnson/Dirk group is ridiculous (oh, and Luol Deng. Luol Deng!!). The Cavs simply don't have the parts to match that.
There is one thing to note: this deal can't go through until July 8th. Kelly Dwyer at Ball Don't Lie writes:
Most readers know where my allegiances lie, so I'm being careful not to shout too loudly about the deal, which can still be reneged upon in the two week window between now and the 8th, but this seems a pretty curious move unless the Wizards have more deals (either taking in more players, dumping Gilbert Arenas, or both) on the ready. As it stands, Hinrich's stout defense and veteran guidance seem to be coming to Washington at a pretty steep price.
For Chicago, this is a deal to drool over. As it stands, tossing Hinrich away leaves them pretty thin in the backcourt, but in dumping his salary and sending Washington a first round selection (guaranteed money), the Bulls will be nearly $31 million under the salary cap this summer, assuming the cap is set at $56.1 million. With maximum salaries starting at $16.5 million, Chicago could offer a second-tier free agent (perhaps Joe Johnson, whose agent is quite close with Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, and owes Reinsdorf an favor after Chicago dumped $60 million on Ben Wallace four years ago) just under the max after pulling in one of the bigger names in the free agent pool.
Of course, this is all for naught if the Wizards back out. And while that would put them in poor standing around the league, it's quite feasible if no other moves are coming down the pike. Or even if a player targeted with the 17th pick is taken higher than expected. Washington GM Ernie Grunfeld has long liked Hinrich's qualities, but to like him this much? It seems like a bit of a reach.
Ric Bucher originally reported that the Sacramento Kings would have a similar offer in place if Washington declines to move on this deal, but that report has been quashed by several media outlets in the time since.
So we got that hope left. The Wizards can still back out.
The sick part of all this is that the Cavs made it all possible. Brian Windhorst tweets:
Irony on Bulls trading Hinrich to clear 10M cap space: Wiz used space Cavs gave in Jamison deal to do it
Kill me now.