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Frenzy before free agency: Amnesty cut possibilities may be slim, will the Bulls look elsewhere?

From even before the tentative agreement of the new CBA, the idea of finding a low-priced quality veteran via another team's amnesty cut seemed appetizing. When details of the agreement rolled out over the weekend, I presented the addition of a 'secondary waivers' for amnestied players as a relatively minor footnote. But I've since been quickly convinced by Bulls Confidential (among others) that this provision is a big deal. Though there are still some questions to be answered in terms of how that second waiver process works, I can't think of a reason that a quality player like, say, Rip Hamilton wouldn't be picked up by an under-the-cap team for as possibly low as the minimum.

Combining that likelihood with the possibility that many teams will want to hang onto their amnesty-out-of-bad-contract-jail-free card for future seasons (like the Bulls and Boozer, potentially), this severely hinders the Bulls chances of getting a quality player via that route. On the bright side, no other contending teams will be able to do so either. I think that was kindof the idea. Tricky work, NBA.

So as a coincidence or not, KC Johnson's most recent piece, as opposed to previous ones, has little mention of amnestied free agents, and instead posits the idea that, hey: How about CJ Watson and Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer share the SG job, and the Bulls focus their efforts on a backup PG like TJ Ford. What the fuck?

Then this kicker to end it...

Though nothing is definitive, it's considered less of a possibility the Bulls will use their entire midlevel exception on a long-term deal for a shooting guard because of luxury-tax concerns in the first year of Rose's five-year maximum extension near $100 million.

...and a mention of Arn Tellem and Jerry Reinsdorf's weekly bridge game to make this a truly visceral stomach-punch of an article.

Do I read too much into KC's reporting? His reports have been a theme in this post-lockout world, but he's indeed the most plugged-in. And while I don't think it's gospel, he likely has been told by somebody who'd know that we should slow our expectations if we're to accurately predict what the Bulls will do. It'd be nice if we got something juicy from a national rumor-monger, though.

Some other cap-related links (and know your fanposts/fanshots) from Monday:

  • Here is some good news for Bulls fans. While I'd been reading all weekend that the delay in new tax penalties would allow the Miami Heat to do whatever they wanted this offseason, Brian Windhorst of ESPN dug deeper and found that the Heat will very likely have to amnesty Mike Miller if only to have enough exceptions to fill out the rest of the roster. And thanks to the eagle-eyed commenter who noted that in that very post there's mention of the Bulls as among the 'most aggressive' teams to sign Miller. Though take that with the above caveats about amnesty waivers.
  • Going off of the idea that amnesty won't be an option, this is a very solid fanpost of the Bulls other avenues of talent acquisition. And after reading it I'm not as immediately dismissive of Tracy McGrady (or Stephen A Smith's reporting) as I was before.
  • Another fanpost specifically speculating over Kings restricted free agent Marcus Thornton.
  • A breakdown of old vs new CBA rules from cap guru Larry Coon. One rule that pertains of the mentioned targets of Thornton and the Nuggets Arron Afflalo is that both of their teams are very likely to keep their free agents if only to make sure they're at the new, higher, minimum team salary floor. Don't fret, gang: TJ Ford may be coming.
  • Oh, I can't end like that, instead: all hail the return of humble-bot.