With the departure of Kyle Korver and C.J. Watson (and to a lesser extent, John Lucas III) for
basketball reasons financial reasons, the Bulls clearly need some three-point shooting. I mean, I don't know about you, but Kirk Hinrich and Vladimir Radmanovic really don't cut it for me. The Bulls have been linked to Marco Belinelli, and according to Alex Kennedy of HOOPSWORLD (yeah, yeah, I know), talks between the two parties may be pretty serious:
It sounds like Marco Belinelli and the Chicago Bulls are in advanced talks. Nothing imminent, but he may sign for the bi-annual exception.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 20, 2012
This really wouldn't be the worst pickup in the world, because Belinelli is pretty much a younger Kyle Korver, except he would cost a few million dollars less (and that's what's important here!). In 66 games (55 starts) last season, Belinelli averaged 11.8 points and 2.5 boards in a shade under 30 minutes per game. He shot 37.7% from three and is a career 39.3% three-point shooter. So that's not too shabby.
The thing that confuses me from this report is the part about the bi-annual exception. We've been under the assumption that the Bulls would be signing Hinrich for the mini MLE, but you can't use both the BAE and mini MLE in the same season. Something that could be done is splitting the full MLE between Hinrich and Belinelli. Or perhaps they sign Belinelli to the BAE and split the MLE between Hinrich and somebody else. Of course, to get the MLE and BAE back, the Bulls would have to not match the offer sheet for Omer Asik (Asik has finally signed his three-year, $25 million offer sheet with the Rockets). And in any of those scenarios, the Bulls would then be subject to the $74.3 million hard cap for the rest of the season.
Another option is using the trade exception created from the Korver trade, that same trade exception that potentially could have been used on O.J. Mayo or Courtney Lee. Mayo signed a two-year deal with the Mavericks worth just over $8 million, while Lee joined the Celtics via sign-and-trade on a four-year deal worth around $21 million. I'm not in love with either of those guys, but they would have been upgrades for the Bulls and would have come at an affordable price. Sigh.
Or maybe the Bulls will get "lucky" and sign Belinelli to the vet minimum. I'm sure that would be the ideal outcome for the front office.