A story in the Chicago Tribune by KC Johnson got my attention, "Marquis Teague Could Make Nate Robinson Expendable" as I was basking in the glow of the Bulls stomping the Celtics. (BTW, is there any "top" Eastern Conference team you'd like to meet more than the Celtics?) It seems like Robinson and Hamilton may be on the way out. Hamilton I think most people expected, because, well, we know the Bulls -
League sources indicate that veteran shooting guard Richard Hamilton has been offered in trade scenarios, efforts that could intensity as the Feb. 21 trade deadline nears.
It seems the Bulls may have some luxury tax concerns -
The Bulls' current payroll of $73,548,450 stands $3,241,450 above the luxury tax threshold. But penalties are assessed based on team payrolls at season's end. The Bulls never have paid the luxury tax.
That the Bulls are thinking of trading Hamilton to get under the luxury tax should surprise no one. They've been thinking of excuses to unload salary all summer. A salary dump of Hamilton would hurt in my opinion, because despite the Bulls recent success, they don't have great depth. I'm not against moving Hamilton, I'd just like to see the Bulls get something useful in the deal. If we were to move Hamilton for a back-up center, I'd be all for it. But if the Bulls end up giving Hamilton a way along with a draft pick to save money - colossal blunder and championship level cheapness.
However nothing they do with Hamilton could surpass the cheapness of cutting Nate Robinson.
Teague's development, not to mention Derrick Rose's expected return, could make Robinson expendable.
Nate Robinson is 3rd on the team in PER, leads the team in Ast%, and over the course of the season, has been the Bulls most dependable guard. Most importantly, until Rose comes back, Nate Robinson is the only guard on the team who can consistently break down a defense. You can't find better value for a minimum roster salary player. Its not a stretch to say Hinrich and Teague cannot dothe things that Robinson can do on a basketball court. He provides a unique service on this team, a high level John Lucas.
I hope this is some speculation by KC, although he isn't known to blindly speculate. Keep Robinson, trade Hamilton for value, don't make the team worse, by pursuing the fiscal championship.