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NBA Rumors: Rip Hamilton in the lead as SG acquisition, Dwight Howard begins exploring trade options

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No updates in the past 12 hours (understandable, heh) on Rip Hamilton coming to the Bulls. I'm a fan of the acquisition, despite him not being the perfect fit at the 2, he's an upgrade. And I think there is something to be said for the possibility of him being rejuvenated on a contender, and to him being in many playoff battles before. It doesn't matter as much as, let's say, having more shooting and playmaking skills, but think of him simply trying to do Bogans' job and it is enough to feel pretty good.

I admittedly have a quick-trigger when 'luxury tax' is invoked as a reason to choose a player though. It's a touchy phrase to throw out there, and here's to hoping it's possibly more of a case of Rip requiring only a 2-year deal whereas other acquisitions would need 4 (or 5 in a sign/trade) years.

Because, you know, the flexibility.

But remember that believing the Bulls possess such a mindset is really only 'hope'. While the Bulls having guys on cheap, short contracts puts them in a good position for a huge, high-priced acquisition (Iguodala?) at the trade deadline, or next year's draft, there's been no indication that they actually would do such a thing. The reason could instead simply be that they have 'aligned' deals for Korver, Brewer, Watson, and now possibly Hamilton because they can come off the books in time to pay others (Asik, Taj, Rose's extension), and keep the payroll manageable. And while, of course, we don't know either way, if you're betting on hope for either scenario history suggests its the latter.

And unfortunately, it very likely won't mean a future pitch for Dwight Howard...

The Magic don't seem to know what they're doing (acquiring Big Baby because he's Howard's friend and not trying to get better is a bad sign) and have given their star center permission to work out a trade to another team. On his list, is: Lakers, Nets, and Mavericks. Later in the night KC Johnson tweeted that he was told that Howard 'doesn't want to be with Bulls'.

I previously had the 'screw that, beat the offer and trade for him anyway' mindset, as the Lakers didn't exactly wait for Chris Paul to pine for them before making a move. Howard arrives, Bulls are contenders, he likes the market, the weather, and it not being New Jersey, and he re-signs.

Unfortunately, like the 'Derrick Rose Rule', the new CBA kinda stiffs the Bulls on this one:

Base year compensation

2005 CBA: Applies for six months (but no later than June 30) after a player is re-signed with Bird rights or receives an extension of his rookie scale contract, and receives a raise greater than 20 percent. Base year compensation limits the player's outgoing salary for trade purposes.

2011 CBA: The criteria for determining whether a player is subject to base year compensation are the same. Players subject to base year compensation cannot be traded before Jan. 15, except in a sign-and-trade. If the trade is allowed, then base year compensation is applied to the player's outgoing salary only in a sign-and-trade transaction.

Joakim Noah falls under BYC designation as his extension is just kicking in (and he signed it last year, so no sign/trade way around it like is suggested above). So, while if you look at the old Trade Machine you can figure out ways to use other salaries to deal Noah for Howard, in the new CBA it's not even possible for Noah to be dealt until the season is already underway.

So, that's a bummer, but it means we can't fault the Bulls for not being 'bolder' on that particular move right now. Questioning that mindset in general principle, to me, seems completely justified.