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It's not dead until the deadline

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I'm actually quite optimistic about the Bulls ability to make a move before this coming trade deadline. At this time last season, I was leading the charge on jokes concerning Paxson's lapsed cell-phone bill, and it turned out they made a pretty good trade with a plan in mind. Granted, that plan was to replace Ben Gordon while selling the half-assed 2010 dream, but still.

And so I'd have to think that if they really are serious about clearing max cap space for 2010 (and why wouldn't they be? at it's worst it's a plan that reduces future payroll), they have an arranged Salmons or Hinrich deal for expirings in their back pocket. The likely problem in doing those deals immediately is that the expiring contracts offered can't play, and the team still would like to make the playoffs. So whether the reason to wait is as seemingly insignificant as getting the next couple games at full-strength, then it still makes sense to wait.

There's also getting what they can for Tyrus Thomas, though that entirely depends on how his working relationship with VDN is, and how concerned management is with backing their lame-duck coach even if it is strained. The talk that Thomas factors into 2010 is false, he's basically an expiring deal himself at this point. The Bulls could always retract a Qualifying Offer when they get a free agent target, or just not offer one at all. There's the stigma of 'losing him for nothing', but some of these offers are worse than getting another 30 games from Thomas. That is unless he's just playing nice for the next few games and is ready to blow up against the team again, to where maybe a quiet guy who can't play at all would actually be a step up.

There is some worry in waiting, as rumored trade partners like the Wizards, Mavs, and Blazers have already made moves. But I won't go into apoplectic fudge-the-Bulls mode until the deadline actually passes and Hinrich and/or Salmons isn't gone. I suppose it'd be quite Bullsian for them to trade neither and instead hope that Salmons opts out, then shifting the blame away from themselves if he doesn't. But even at my basest expectation for this braintrust, I think they know that's too risky.