Gotta Love This Time Of Year

This Thursday is the NBA Trade Deadline. Not only is it the NBA Trade Deadline, it will be one of biggest days in Bulls history. This Thursday could be the day us Chicagoans look back at and say that's the day that our title run began. It is no secret that this coming summer is the biggest summer of Free Agency in the history of the league. The Bulls are looking to be major players and hope they can sign two of the biggest names on the market this summer to play alongside Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. If this happens, the Bulls will be a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference for years to come.

But it's not as easy as it sounds. The Bulls currently have $37,658,976 for next year's payroll. With an estimated Salary cap around 52 million for next year, They'll have around 12 million in cap room once you figure out roster and draft pick holds.

Luol Deng $11,345,000

Kirk Hinrich $9,000,000

John Salmons $5,808,000

Derrick Rose $5,546,160

Joakim Noah $3,128,536

James Johnson $1,713,600

Taj Gibson $1,117,680

15th pick (guess)$1,443,300

Roster hold$473,604

Roster hold$473,604

Roster hold$473,604

Total:$40,523, 088

12 million is not enough for a Max free agent, let alone two. A max contract figures to be around$16,568,908 next season. So how do we make room for a max free agent?

The first thing to do to that clears cap room, is to pray that John Salmons exercises his Early Termination Option (ETO). If Salmons opts out of his contract and decides to test the free agency waters that removes $5,808,000 from our 2010 payroll bringing us down to $34,715,088 in salary and giving us around 17 million for a max free agent, which is just barely enough.

So yes it is possible to make no trades and still have a shot at affording a max player next season. However, with the year Salmons is having there are no guarantees he will opt out. He most likely will due to wanting to get a new contract on this current CBA as opposed to waiting til 2011 and having to deal with a new CBA that will most likely lower salaries.

I rather be more proactive and guarantee that we will have cap room next season. The best way to do this is to move the long term contracts of Kirk Hinrich and Loul Deng.

Moving Kirk Hinrich is going to be a tough one. He is making 9 million next season and 8 million the year after that. That's an extremely high price tag for a guy who is essentially a back-up point guard. I've heard rumblings of the Celtics and Lakers being interested in Kirk. However with the Celtics already changing their minds and focusing on Nate Robinson now, the Lakers are the only option. The only problem is the Lakers don't have many expiring contracts and refuse to part with Shannon Brown and Jordan Farmar. So what I propose is Adam Morrison and Derek Fisher for Kirk Hinrich. Morrison and Fisher are both expiring deals. This will give us an extra 9 million dollars in cap space for next season. Both players wouldn't do much. Morrison would most likely be buried on the bench and I would just buy-out Fisher's contract and let him rest for 30 days and then return to the Lakers. So while we might not get a player in return this year, that extra 9 million dollars this summer is more valuable then any player Kirk Hinrich would be able to be traded for.

Now unlike Kirk Hinrich, Loul Deng only should be traded if we can get something of substance for him. Deng has a ton of potential and a core of Rose, Deng, Noah, and a max free agent should be able to contend. So there is no hurry to just dump Loul Deng, however now is the chance to sell high on him if we can. There are several trade possibilities for Deng and I would also include Tyrus in this package. Here's a list of trade possibilities:

Deng/Tyrus for Carlos Boozer and Kyle Korver (Utah)

I love this trade. Both Boozer and Korver are expiring contracts, it would clear out roughly 12 million extra dollars in cap room for the summer. But Boozer and Korver can play. Korver could become that 3 point shooter that we've been searching for all season since we lost Ben Gordon (Hey look! I made it this far without mentioning BG! Go me!). And I believe Boozer would be an excellent fit with Rose. It also saves Utah around 2 million this year getting them closer to getting out of the luxury tax. And it gives them two very good young players to play with Williams.

Deng/Tyrus for A'mare Stoudamire (Phoenix)

Any time you get a chance to acquire an All-Star you have to do it, well unless it's Iverson. As I type this I'm hearing news of Cleveland getting closer to acquiring A'mare. This is bad news pairing Lebron and Stoudamire is bad news for the Eastern Conference. Not only will it be extremely difficult to beat Cleveland, it will most likely lead to Lebron staying in Cleveland. If Lebron stays with A'mare then Bosh goes to Miami to play with Wade in the hopes that they can beat the A'mare/Lebron duo. And then the Bulls get stuck with Joe Johnson and Rudy Gay and we are stuck in NBA hell for the next decade. No thanks. Get A'mare now and hope Rose/A'mare/Noah is enough to attract Lebron or Wade next year.

Deng/Tyrus for Al Jefferson (Minnesota)

Not only is Al Jefferson a good young player, but he has tremendous value around the league. I don't believe Jefferson would be a good fit in the Bulls uptempo, fast-paced basketball style however by obtaining Jefferson, you give yourself a valuable trade piece that you could use to work out a sign and trade with Toronto in the summer for Bosh.

If we make the Hinrich trade and one of the above trades we would be in tremendous shape. We would have potentially at least 25 million in cap room next season and that's without Salmons opting out. We would be able to be big time players next season. None of the trades cripple us enough this season that I don't think we wouldn't be able to make the playoffs this year either. I think a team of Rose/Noah/Deng or player we trade Deng for would be a good enough team to get into the playoffs.

If the Bulls are truly interested in going all out for 2010, then they need to get to work now.

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