The trade deadline has passed, and the Bulls are well on their way to a quick first round playoff exit. The Bulls traded away Salmons and Thomas. Salmons was a no-brainer because now we don't have to worry about whether he will opt out or in this summer. And Tyrus.....well let's just say that even though not too many people here are happy about it, it's not like it was unexpected.
Hinrich was not traded though, and I noticed a lot of people are upset about it. I felt the same way......until I realized that it may actually be a good thing. Not only does it prevent the Bulls from totally tanking the rest of the season and missing the playoffs (with the scrub expirings we would have got in return), but I think it may actually put us in a better position for this summer. And here is why I feel this way....
The max free agents this summer will not only be looking to join a championship contender, but they'll be looking for money too. How can they get the most money? They can sign with their current team again, or join another team via sign and trade. For a sign and trade to occur, the team receiving the superstar player must have good players to send back that the other team would want. For example, even though the Knicks may have cleared enough space for two max free agents, that doesn't mean that they will get any of them, since they really decimated their roster and traded away all their first round picks for the next like 10 years. Nobody would want to do a sign-and-trade with them cause they don't have anyone to send back (after all, Eddy Curry's contract is not very attractive). The Bulls, on the other hand, have plenty of attractive young players. Rose is the only untouchable one. We can give away Deng, Hinrich, our rookies with their small contracts, and yes, even Noah.
So fast forward to the end of the season. You're Toronto and Bosh says he doesn't want to stay, and he will leave for nothing unless you do a sign and trade. Bulls can offer Deng and Noah (and in fact did just that before the trade deadline), and I don't think that the Raptors can get much better talent elsewhere. Noah is awesome and we all love him, yes. But I'd trade him in a split second if it meant getting Bosh. Atlanta is even worse off than Toronto, as Johnson is probably the least likely to stay out of all the big names this summer. He sees Bosh and Rose on our team, and I bet he would immediately sign with the Bulls, and get the championship contender and big market he deserves. Or, once again we could do a sign and trade. Hinrich and filler for Johnson.
And I'm just giving examples here.... Kurt is definitely an asset and we could trade him to a number of teams. He is a decent player who is only slightly overpaid. Besides, he has a front-loaded contract, and entering the last part of it. He is clearly tradeable - Boston would have taken him in return for junk expirings, and the Lakers would have traded for him if they could have unloaded Sasha's contract.
Besides, it's not like we would have enough cap room for two max agents if we had traded him. With sign and trades this summer, we can have two (Bosh and Johnson for instance), Rose, and left over room to sign other role players to fill out our roster.
So you say, what if they don't want to leave their current teams? Let's face it.... Lebron and Wade are not likely to. Bosh and Johnson might not want to either. Well, whether Hinrich is here or not would not make any difference in that respect. So trading him would have just made us worse this season, and the Bulls organization would have lost their favorite player. There would be no sense in doing that.
And this is why Hinrich staying is a good thing, or at least no different than Hinrich going. Because of the wonderful sign and trade possibilities, we are in good position for this summer. Couple that with the fact that we have Rose, a huge loyal fanbase, and a big market, and I really see us as the front runners out of any of the teams with cap room this summer that do not already have a max free agent on their team.