I have no doubt the Trailblazers would love to get Hinrich, who is an upgrade from Blake and would be a nice fit with Brandon Roy as Hinrich also plays off the ball and is a good defender. Hinrich could help fill out a young team that Pritchard has said is a few years away. Why not do it now?
But would it be too much of a risk at this time for the Bulls?
You figure the deals would look something like this if the teams decided to move: Hinrich for Bayless, who would be protection for the loss of Gordon and who really isn't a point guard but a scorer, Channing Frye, a young big man rarely used in Portland and Ike Diogu, almost never used. Diogu is one of those undersized tough forwards in the mold of guys who have done well lately like Carl Landry, Brandon Bass and Paul Millsap.
The Trailblazers have a ridiculous excess of young players with Martell Webster still to return and Rodriguez rarely playing. Diogu and Frye have expiring contracts and Bayless is a rookie, so they Bulls could clear cap room for free agency and get a look at some young bigs. Maybe you go for Blake, even though he is out, as he'd be an ideal inexpensive backup for Rose. And Portland has some low, extra first round picks you might get.
Perhaps you expand the deal to include Larry Hughes and get Raef LaFrentz, whose contract expires after this season, freeing up salary cap space as well. Maybe you involve Joel Pryzbilla, who doesn't figure to be part of that Portland future, but is a tough big man who can give you some physical presence.
Then Sam poo-poos the Jermaine O'Neal talk in an interview at Raptors Republic:
SS: To me, there’s no chance the Bulls take on O’Neal.
PHD: Why not? He appears to address all of the Bulls’ needs, no?
SS: There are a couple of major issues with O’Neal. There’s the salary and though you can come within 25 percent, the Bulls would have to give up too much in addition to Hughes to avoid a luxury tax hit. I don’t see them going into the tax to take on O’Neal.
PHD: OK, but his contract comes off the books for 2010. Is there more to JO than we know here in Toronto?
SS: The larger issue to me is that O’Neal is what they call around the NBA a de-energizer. He saps the energy out of a team with his constant injury issues which makes it uncertain when he can play, and then when he is around he won’t practice so he won’t get hurt again and guys hate that and become resentful. Then he talks to the media all the time, and while it’s good for reporters, teammates wonder why this guy is talking all the time and never doing anything
I get what he's saying about O'Neal. As long as the coach doesn't allow his wallowing no-practiceness to take over the team like Wallace was able to, it shouldn't be any worse than Hughes. And when he can play he can help, unlike Hughes, even if he isn't the 'answer'. Don't quite get what he's talking about regarding the tax, unless he received the directive from the Bulls saying that the Bulls will never trade Nocioni ever because he looks like he's playing hard.
As far as the Blazers, I'm going to party like it's 2007 if the Bulls get Ike Diogu as a throw-in (Bayless and Frye aint a bad haul either). He could produce if given minutes. Wait, this is the Bulls. Expiring contract!