A Few Trades That Could Work and Some General Thoughts

I think the following three trades could potentially happen and would satisfy each team's interests.  The first two have been rumored in some shape or form, but I have not heard about the third one.

1) Bulls send Tyrus Thomas(4.7) and Jerome James (6.6 expiring) to Utah for Carlos Boozer (12.5 expiring).

From our side this is a no brainer.  We upgrade our PF position and get a contract year performance from Boozer.  If he fits well with Rose and the rest of the team, we have a leg up on signing him next summer, if not we get another 12.5 million to expire.

From the Jazz side, they get a good young talent in Thomas and an expiring contract in Jerome James which I believe is partially covered by insurance.  This would help the Jazz, already in the luxury tax, save some money while still receiving a talent for Boozer, which by all accounts they won't pay for what he wants next season.


Side Note:

I've heard rumors of Rip Hamilton to Utah that would send Carlos Boozer to Detroit, which may be more favorable for Utah.  If they think they can compete, Rip is a great talent to get back for Boozer, but they're still paying the tax and are probably a year or two away from being able to get some good talent (they have a few large, poor contracts).  I think Detroit would probably make that trade, it sounds like Rip wasn't too happy last year, they've always liked Boozer and I don't really buy into the Stuckey-Gordon-Rip 3 guard trio, they're going to get lit up on defense that way.


2) Bulls send Kirk Hinrich (9.5, 9, 8 left) to Portland for Steve Blake (4.9 expiring) and Travis Outlaw (4 expiring).

We do this because Hinrich is probably a bit too pricey for a third guard.  He doesn't fit poorly, but he is more of a luxury.  We get a solid backup PG for Rose and a player who can help replace Gordon's instant offense in Travis Outlaw.  Both contracts are expiring, so we free up another 9 million next year.

Portland has made it no secret that they would like to upgrade their PG situation.  If Andre Miller ends up staying with Philly, there aren't too many options left.  They would likely prefer Hinrich over Iverson, even at a discount for Iverson (team ball, etc.) and options such as Nash, Bibby, Harris and Kidd are all pretty much dried up (possible exception of Nash).  So Portland gets an upgrade at PG, an unselfish player who can also play defense. 

Maybe we need to throw in something small like cash considerations or a 2nd rounder to make Portland pull the trigger, but I think that is more than worth it for us.  If Portland starts out slow they might be more apt to make this trade.


3) Bulls send Brad Miller (12.2 expiring) to Philly for Samuel Dalembert (11.3, 12.2)

We do this because we instantly upgrade the center position.  Dalembert can easily fit in with our team and split time with Noah.  He gets into some foul trouble so Noah will have plenty of time to play.  If either player picks it up on the offensive end (possible, perhaps likely b/c they are both developing on that end of the floor) we could even play them alongside each other.  A player like Dalembert is exactly the type of guy we would want to play down low in the playoffs against the likes of Howard, Perkins/KG/Wallace, Shaq/Z/Varajao and Bosh.  Combined with Noah we would have a respectable defensive paint.

We do lose a good shooting center, but we were pretty shot happy last year already.  I think the upgrade on defense is worth it.  We do take 12.2 million in salary that would've been expiring, but with either of the previous two trades, or something similar, we wouldn't be in any worse of a position for 2010 as we are now and would be in good shape for 2011.

Philly does this because Dalembert has made it no secret that he doesn't want to play in Philly anymore.  They can afford to trade for Brad Miller, a player who probably won't mind backup up Brand or fitting in however they want him to.  He adds much needed shooting to that team and his contract is expiring, so Philly frees up some money in 2010.


I've heard Dalembert has a trade kicker of a few million in his contract, I'm not sure if this is true or not, but that would mean we would have to play around with some numbers and I don't see any obvious fits on both rosters to make it work.  A future Philly draft pick might have to round this one up, which we could likely use to get another small piece in 2010 or 2011, as we don't really need more young projects and do need support around Rose, Deng and whoever else projects to be our starting core in 2011 and beyond.



Roster Additions* (We lose Hinrich, Tyrus, Miller and James)

PG Rose/Blake*

SG Salmons/Outlaw*

SF Deng/Johnson

PF Boozer*/Taj

C Dalembert*/Noah

Taj and Johnson would get some valuable development time and hopefully could contribute positively by the playoffs.  Otherwise, Noah could play some PF or even start at center.  Salmons can move to the 3 if Johnson isn't working out as backup and Outlaw can play some extended minutes at the 2.  Blake is a good backup for Rose.

We're potentially competitive in the East with this lineup right now and if it doesn't work?  We have Outlaw, Blake and Boozer expiring for about 20 million in 2010 along with Tim Thomas' 6 million.  Dalembert expires in 2011, so we would have some more flexibility and would know by then if Noah is our starting center or not.

I think with the possible exception of the third trade (unless Philly throws in a 1st rounder or something), none of these trades are dependent on one another.

I keep hearing about how it's the end of our team for another 5 years because we didn't pay Ben Gordon 11 million, but to be honest where did that get us last year vs Boston?  Gordon had some terrific nights, but look at the man he was guarding, Ray Allen.  The truth is we were outperformed at the SG position.  The truth is Gordon played his ass off in a contract year and we wouldn't be able to expect the same level of play for 5 years at 11+ a year, not to mention the shaky defense.  If Lamar Odom isn't worth 11 million to anybody and Boozer opted to take his 11 million as well, I don't think 5 years and 55 million is good value on Gordon.  It pains me to say it because Gordon has been the most exciting offensive player we've had since Jordan, but I truly believe it.  Detroit overpaid for him. On a side note, by adding Gordon to their roster, Detroit either has to move Rip or go with a huge gamble in a small 3 guard set.  I don't see the latter working and the former may not yield equal talent for Rip.

One last word about Gordon, I admit that his contract for us wouldn't be a huge burden on the team, but it limits our options (Salmons/Deng cluster at 3) and flexibility (11 million tied up for 5 years), as well as our balance (defensive guard play).  Maybe Deng got too big of a contract,  and yes we got had on the Ben Wallace deal, but making a smaller "wrong" doesn't really do much for two previous bad contracts (still undecided on the Deng thing, injuries are just bad luck in many cases).

Another mention I keep hearing is about how good are two draft picks this year could be.  I don't buy into this though, the roster after the trades above allows them the opportunity to develop, but also provides plenty of cap space and roster flexibility to cover us in case one or both is a bust.  Don't forget we took players like Hinrich (7), Gordon (3), Deng (7), Tyrus (2*), Noah (9) and Rose (1) much higher up in drafts that were by all accounts much stronger than this year's.  Noah and Tyrus are still not concrete starters 2 and 3 years later, so I think people are being overly optimistic about Taj and Johnson. If they end up being starters, great, we'll have room for them,  but in my opinion we cannot rely on this or even expect it.

To conclude, I believe our current roster allows us a great deal of flexibility for the next few years, as well as the ability to compete in a real way now.  Rose looks like he's going to be real special, so why not surround him with some talent this year?  We can get good value for some of our expiring contracts, future picks and Tyrus.  We can probably have our cake and eat it too by staying flexible for 2010 and 2011 with some of the trades I've suggested above.  Most years, trades of such value rely on the "gotcha" premise, but with the economic state of some NBA teams we can upgrade our team without committing to obscenely long and overpriced contracts.

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