Bulls Free Agency Rumors: Bulls among 4 teams interested in OJ Mayo

LAS VEGAS - JULY 24: Derrick Rose #6 and O.J. Mayo #5 of the 2010 USA Basketball Men's National Team talk on the court during a break in the action at a USA Basketball showcase at the Thomas & Mack Center July 24 2010 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Playing some catch-up with a lot of rumors that have appeared on the sidebar here over the past day-plus...)

Marc Spears of Yahoo! first reported that the Bulls are among 4 teams interested in unrestricted Free Agent OJ Mayo. One of the other teams mentioned is the Phoenix Suns, who have cap room to spare after similar (though better) target of theirs, Eric Gordon, had his offer sheet matched by the Hornets. Though I'm not sure that's considered official, so Phoenix's offer to Mayo possibly can't be official yet.

Being over the cap, the Bulls are limited in the contract they can give Mayo, though the reported trade of Kyle Korver does present some options. Mike McGraw explain:

[after the Korver trade] they'll have a traded-player exception worth $5 million. To use that on Mayo, they'd have to talk the Grizzlies into doing a sign-and-trade and send some sort of draft pick and/or cash in return.

Sign and trades are limited to four years in the new CBA. So if that happens, Memphis could sign Mayo to a four-year deal worth a total of $21.35 million and send him to the Bulls.

Another possibility is using the full mid-level exception [for the same money]...To use that option, the Bulls would have to decline to match Omer Asik's offer sheet from Houston. Otherwise, they'd be limited to the taxpayer mid-level of $3 million.

They'd also have to find another way to land Hinrich, either through a sign-and-trade with Atlanta or possibly even the bi-annual exception worth $1.9 million, which they could use if Asik walks.

[another interesting cap wrinkle: the possibility of being into the luxury tax but acquiring a player via sign-and-trade is not going to be available starting next offseason]

OJ Mayo has long been an irrationally-desired target of mine, because of what tools he's sometimes shown to have instead of how he's actually played in his 4 years in the NBA. Someone who can handle the ball, create shots, shoot from long range, shows defensive ability...just doesn't actually do those things very often and winds up with overall below-average production.

But a ballhogging low-efficiency high-volume shooter is something the Bulls (especially without Derrick Rose) kind of need. And at the same cost of Rip Hamilton but much younger (turns 25 near start of the season) with much better ballhandling ability it's worth the risk that he's plateaued and never will reach his draft hype. It's likely no coincidence that the Bulls agree that much, and are looking into the possibility of moving Hamilton.

But Mayo can likely get a much better deal from Phoenix, who (as I type!) just claimed Luis Scola off of amnesty waivers and cleared even more cap room by amnestying Josh Childress.

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