One of the things that folks, myself included, worry about with trading Hughes is screwing up our long-term cap position. We want to be rid of him, but we don't want to take back post-2010 salary to do it. And we want to be rid of him, but we don't just want to buy out his contract, because it could be a "useful trading chip" when it's expiring next year.
Well, I think we've reached the point where we need to consider these options. A few days back, I compared Hughes to Jalen Rose. Many folks might not remember, but we didn't shed any salary in trading away Rose. In fact, it extended our obligations because Jerome Williams' contract ran a year longer than Rose's, and it cost the Bulls $5.8M in total additional salary obligations.
In short, the Bulls both paid extra money and hurt their cap position to get rid of Rose. And a relatively productive player, Donyell Marshall.
They were able to make it up later by taking advantage of Isaiah Thomas, and shed JYD in the Crawford sign and trade deal. I'm not saying that's what I prefer or that would definitely happen again, but it's a point the Bulls should consider. Suppose they take on a player with some 2010 salary. If it's not ridiculously huge (Darius Songaila, who'd been rumored as a Hughes exchange partner, for example) will make $4.8M. That's certainly not great, but it's the sort of thing we might be able to work around. We'd still have another year to try and shed him or other players.
Again, that's not what I want to do. I don't even think it's what we have to do. I think, somewhere out there, is a way to get rid of Hughes that wouldn't take on that sort of space. But at this point, we probably should consider either that or simply sending him away and negotiating a buyout.