It has been a relatively quiet day on the free agency front, with a minor trade between the Bucks and Kings involving Luc Richard Mbah a Moute really being the only highlight. And I guess the fact that Jermaine O'Neal is off the board is somewhat important as well, as he could have been a decent candidate for the Bulls' backup center job.
There are still some big names out there, and one of those is Monta Ellis. I highlighted how the Bulls were interested in Ellis a bit earlier in free agency, but I kind of scoffed at it because it just seemed ridiculous. However, according to Real GM's Shams Charania, that interest was very real:
Ellis set up meetings with teams over the weekend and into the week, and he privately believed in recent days that joining the Bulls in a sign-and-trade between Chicago and the Milwaukee Bucks had been a growing possibility. Despite a hard push out of the Bulls, they ultimately couldn't make the moves necessary to facilitate a potential sign and trade, a source said.
My first reaction to this was basically...WTF. We know as it stands that the Bulls can't really do sign-and-trades, because they are already several million bucks over the tax apron for next season. To pull something like this off, quite a bit of salary would have to go.
Theoretically, the Bulls could have amnestied Boozer and then tried to get Monta at a discount using the TPE. When that almost certainly would have failed, perhaps the Bulls could have offered Richard Hamilton and Kirk Hinrich and some draft picks as sweetener and then gotten Monta at something around $10 million a year (in conjunction with the Boozer amnesty). Or maybe Luol Deng could have been involved. But that would have really sucked, at least to me.
In any case, the idea of Monta Ellis is kind of cool, because he can score and create offense for himself and others on occasion. However, Ellis is an undersized, inefficient chucker, and paying him big money would have been pretty terrible. Who knows just how close this was to happening, but I'm glad it didn't.
UPDATE: TNT's David Aldridge confirmed that the Bulls had a lot of interest in Ellis, "but couldn't figure out a way to swing a deal without giving up one of their core pieces, including forward Taj Gibson." So there you have it.