Interesting Trade Idea: S-Jax & Anthony Randolph

Someone on "Ask Sam" proposed an interesting Tyrus trade involving Golden State.  Here are two variations that would work:

Trade #1: Tyrus and Salmons for Anthony Randolph and Stephen Jackson

Trade #2: Tyrus and Hinrich for Randolph, Jackson, and Speedy Claxton (for salary matching purposes)

There are definitely some problems with both scenarios - not the least of which is Tyrus' injury - but given Don Nelson and the Warrior's general dysfunction, it could have some legs.

Why The Bulls Do It:

At this point, we all know why Tyrus, Hinrich, and Salmons are all either expendable or not in the long term plan for this Bulls team.  Personally, I am a big Tyrus fan, but it's clear that management has given up on him.  Salmons and Hinrich are also very talented, but tenuous fits at best in the long term.  Then there are the contract issues.  Tyrus will be a restricted free agent, and it will be nearly impossible to resign him as well as sign a marquee free agent due to cap restrictions.  Hinrich is a highly overpaid backup PG with a long-term contract.  Salmons is highly underpaid, and will likely demand more money than is available either this summer (if he opts out), or next summer.

This leaves us in a situation where if we are successful in signing a marquee free agent, pretty much unless that free agent is Bosh, Taj Gibson will be the starting PF (yikes!  I mean I like Taj, but he's no starter.).  If the bulls are able to sign Wade or Joe Johnson, we'll be right back into "guard glut" territory.  Plus the team would have an inefficiently humongous percentage of resources dedicated to the back court.

Hence the reasoning behind this trade.  Anthony Randolph gives us much of what Tyrus does on the court, and does so without as many off court issues (seems like basically a good kid, though he does have a bit of a reputation).  Even better, his contract is less than half of Tyrus' contract on an annual basis, and he has 2 years remaining, as opposed to Tyrus' 1 year.  As a result, the Bulls - if still under the cap - will have the ability to sign a marquee free agent this summer without loosing their starting PF.  The Bulls would then be in a good position to resign Randolph next year, as there is no problem going above the cap to extend your own player.  Randolph's ceiling is perhaps even higher than than Tyrus', and he would probably value his floor time a lot more too after being stuck in Nellie's dog house.

...And then there's Stephen Jackson.  Ok.  I agree.  He's not an ideal personality fit with this team (or maybe any!).  But he does bring experience, a great all-around game, exemplory defense, and decent three point shooting.  In a perfect world, the Bulls would turn this into a three team trade so as to avoid him actually putting on a Bulls uniform.  But more than likely, we'd be stuck with him - at least for a little while.  So I would suggest embracing "The Stephen Jackson Experiment" - at least initially.  Give him until the trade deadline to see if he is capable of contributing on the court without disrupting our supposedly harmonious locker room.  If it works, great.  If not, put him back on the block.  The Warriors are looking for a lot in return for him, and thus haven't found many suitors, but perhaps if all the Bulls were interested in was an expiring contract, there's a chance they could figure something out.  That said, expiring contracts are a hot commodity going into this off season, so who knows.

If the Warriors will only accept Trade #1, and the Bulls can't find a way to trade Jackson, then we can kiss the Summer of 2010 goodbye (which would suck).  If, however, the Warriors like Hinrich, and take Trade #2, then the Bulls are able to maintain cap space regardless of whether or not Jackson is traded before the summer (Jackson's contract is actually on par with Hinrich's, except one year longer).  If the Bulls are unable to attract a max FA, and S-Jax actually fits in ok ith our team, then he can be the 2010 backup plan.  Not a bad option at the 2 if he can find away to get along with the players and coaches.

In any event, it gives the Bulls a lot of flexibility by hedging our bets for summer 2010, and simultaneously providing one or two additional high quality players with which to attract free agents.  The only truely terrible scenario is if he turns out to be a cancer and we can't trade him.

Why Golden State Does It:

The decision to extend Captain Jack has blown up in their face.  He wants out, and the Warriors are trying to accommodate him, provided they get something decent back in return. Both Hinrich and Salmons are starting caliber players, both play multiple positions, and both should do well in Nellie's small ball system.  They are likely to want Salmons more than Hinrich though, as they don't really need another PG (with Ellis and Curry on the roster), and Salmons' contract is much more palatable.

With regard to the other major component of this trade, Anthony Randolph is in Nellie's doghouse, and only getting 20 minutes per game.  Perhaps Nellie would appreciate Tyrus Thomas' more developed game, and might believe (as I do) that a change of scenery would do Tyrus well.  Tyrus' injury is certainly not helpful here, but it's unlikely that they'll be able to find a suitor for Jackson anytime soon.  On the other hand, with Nellie's mercurial personality, it's entirely possible that he'll be playing Randolph 40 minutes per game by the time Tyrus is healthy, thus nullifying this whole idea.


I'm still not convinced it's a great plan for either team, but it's definitely worth the Bulls looking into.

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