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Bulls free agency rumors: Decision day approaching on bench mob contracts

A new wrinkle in the Bulls roster situation, from KC Johnson late Monday:

The deadline for Bulls options on Ronnie Brewer's $4.37 million and C.J. Watson's $3.2 million salaries has arrived. A decision on Kyle Korver's $5 million option is due by Sunday.

In the wake of Kirk Hinrich's signing, Watson's camp already has been told his option won't be picked up. Brewer long has been considered the most expendable of the three because Jimmy Butler, last year's first-round pick, will assume his role.

Because of his shooting specialty, Korver has a slim chance to return and hasn't been told definitively either way. Sources said the Bulls are exploring sign-and-trade possibilities for all three players in an attempt to avoid losing assets for nothing.

Previously, while we knew Brewer and Watson's guarantee date was 7/10 (before the moratorium is over the next day), Korver had no reported guarantee-by date for his deal. It's possible that Sunday (7/15) is that date for Korver, or a less formal deadline where the Bulls don't want to keep him in limbo for too long while the free agency money is still out there from other teams.

The other big decision is whether to match the Rockets offer to Omer Asik to be made officially when the moratorium is lifted. In the article, KC has no extra information besides what Gar Forman has publicly said about matching any offer, though KC did say on WSCR Monday morning (embedded below) that he knows the Bulls were 'surprised' (they should read BlogABull!) by exactly how poisonous the Rockets made the deal to match. Supposedly CSNChicago's Aggrey Sam said on TV that the Bulls are leaning towards not matching, but I haven't heard him (or any other report) myself.

Remember, the Bulls have options (as opposed to the statement from Johnson in that radio spot that "the Bulls have no money". Jeez...) to still get something out of these contracts. They have to guarantee Watson and Brewer before trading them, but that's possible, even if all you can get is a trade exception. Johnson mentioned Jazz wing (and free agent himself) CJ Miles out of the blue, though I wonder if that name only came up because a Utah writer (via HoopsRumors) speculated it earlier.

Names aside, adding a player or merely assets is a possibility with these contracts. Matching Asik is possible too (and consensus is 'likely', but as mentioned, nobody's stepping out either way). Another possibility is doing none of the above, and staying under the tax level. We've just seen the Knicks, who are over the cap themselves, use their non-guaranteed deals to land Marcus Camby. It's looking like we'll find out how creative, or willing, the Bulls are to do something similar this very week.