FanShot

Chad Ford--Trades That Should Happen Now

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For the non-Insiders: 3. Bulls-Spurs Chicago gets: Matt Bonner, Roger Mason, Michael Finley, draft rights to Tiago Splitter San Antonio gets: John Salmons, Tyrus Thomas Would Chicago do it? On the surface, it might seem that the Bulls would get killed in this deal because the Spurs would be getting the two best players in the trade. But the Bulls have good reason to move Salmons and Thomas, neither of whom is in the team's long-term plans: The Bulls want the cap space such a trade would provide. Chicago can set itself up to be a serious player in free agency this summer, given the appeal of the market and the foundation of Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Joakim Noah. Bonner and Mason, who have expiring contracts, could contribute this season, and Splitter is a good prospect who could come in and help the Bulls in the middle at some point or become a trade asset. As a former first-round draft pick who has established himself in Europe, he might fit the bill if the Bulls are looking to get talent and/or picks in return for Thomas. And then, if they can pull off trade No. 4 (see below), the Bulls could be in great position going into the summer shopping season. Chicago could be an attractive destination for the likes of James, Wade and Bosh or, at worst, players like Joe Johnson and David Lee. Would San Antonio do it? Maybe. The team needs immediate help, as they get older and fall behind the rest of the West. Both Salmons and Thomas would give the Spurs some younger legs, with Salmons also providing offensive punch and Thomas some defense and rebounding. Thomas' problems in getting along with his coaches have been well-documented, but perhaps he would respond better to a coach like Gregg Popovich and a veteran team led by Tim Duncan. If so, Thomas could become a huge asset to the Spurs over the long haul. The Spurs rarely make trades like this, but I can't think of a better one for them right now. 4. Lakers-Bulls Chicago gets: Jordan Farmar, Adam Morrison, Josh Powell Los Angeles gets: Kirk Hinrich Would the Bulls do it? John Paxson has been reluctant to give away Hinrich even though he's been in a funk since Derrick Rose arrived. But the time to move him is now. The team would be much better off next summer with the extra cap space, and Farmar would be a serviceable back-up for Rose in the meantime. If Chicago could pull off this trade and the one above, it would be very much in the running for the top free agents this summer, with perhaps only Miami as well-positioned to enter the market. Would Los Angeles do it? Derek Fisher is struggling, Farmar hasn't progressed as the Lakers hoped, and Shannon Brown isn't really a point guard. So the Lakers need an upgrade at point guard and they don't have a lot of good options. Hinrich might not be ideal, given his protracted offensive slump and sizable contract, but he is a smart player who should be a good fit in the triangle, and he can defend. And who else could the Lakers get? Look around the league and you'll see there doesn't appear to be a good trade partner for the Lakers other than Chicago. The other available point guards -- including Luke Ridnour, Chris Duhon, Ramon Sessions and T.J. Ford -- wouldn't fit as well as Hinrich. The major concern about Hinrich appears to be the additional two years and $17 million on his contract after this season, which is a lot for a tax-paying team to take on. But are the Lakers really that strapped for cash? Even with the largest payroll in the league, they're still turning a profit.

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