The Bulls reportedly had shown some interest in unrestricted free agent shooting guard O.J. Mayo.
No matter. Mayo is off the board.
Jeff Caplan of ESPNDallas writes:
The Dallas Mavericks and shooting guard O.J. Mayo have agreed to a multiyear deal, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Mayo, 24, spent the first four seasons of his career with the Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 15.2 points a game. He is set to join a radically revamped Mavs roster around Dirk Nowitzki that includes center Chris Kaman, forward Elton Brand, shooting guard Dahntay Jones and point guard Darren Collison, all added in the last five days.
The third overall pick in the 2008 draft broke the news on his Twitter account, saying, “I will be signing with dallas! #Mavsnation.”
The exact terms of Mayo’s deal were not known, but it is a two-year deal with a player option in the second year. The Mavs had about $4 million in cap space remaining.
If those numbers are correct, the Bulls probably could have made a strong push for Mayo using the $5 million trade exception they picked up in the Kyle Korver trade (assuming the Grizzlies would have consented to a sign-and-trade).
Of course, Chicago’s front office is in cost-cutting/money-saving mode right now, and they were unlikely to shell out any money for Mayo, especially with Rip Hamilton still on the books and Houston’s $25.1 million offer sheet for Omer Asik still pending.
Just another sign, if anybody needed one, that the Bulls aren’t looking to improve the team this offseason.
Kyle Korver is scheduled to have a physical in Atlanta today.
Assuming he passes — and there’s no reason I know of to assume otherwise — the Bulls will be able to finalize the three-team deal sending Korver to the Hawks via the Minnesota Timberwolves.
What do the Bulls get out of this trade? Reportedly, they will receive a draft pick, a trade exception, and the benefit of not paying the $500,000 guarantee on the $5,000,000 non-guaranteed portion of Kyle’s contract.
Will the deal make the Bulls a better team? No. Will it keep money in Jerry Reinsdorf’s pockets? Yes.
It’s currently unknown whether Kirk Hinrich will be included in this transaction somehow. Reports have surfaced that unrestricted free agent O.J. Mayo is getting a look-see from Chicago management – Mayo is also receiving interest from the Lakers, Mavericks and Suns — and the Bulls may be trying to work out some sort of deal that allows them to get both Hinrich and Mayo while still, somehow, avoiding the luxury tax.
Which likely means moving Rip Hamilton.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes:
Along these lines, league sources said the Bulls have shopped Richard Hamilton’s expiring $5 million deal, which carries a mere $1 million guarantee for 2013-14. Thus far, there have been no takers.
No takers? Hard to fathom that. Who doesn’t want an injury-plagued shooting guard coming off his worst statistical season since his rookie year and who will turn 35 in February?
Of course, management’s efforts at moving Rip may have nothing to do with Mayo at all. The Bulls may simply be looking to avoid spending money. Which, as everyone knows, is their M.O.
Nonetheless, Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald has sorted through various Mayo-to-Chicago scenarios:
Complete details of the Kirk Hinrich acquisition and Kyle Korver trade to Atlanta have yet to be revealed, but those transactions should help the Bulls in the Mayo chase.
If the Bulls get a second-round draft pick out of the Korver trade, they’ll have a traded-player exception worth $5 million. To use that on Mayo, they’d have to talk the Grizzlies into doing a sign-and-trade and send some sort of draft pick and/or cash in return.
Sign and trades are limited to four years in the new CBA. So if that happens, Memphis could sign Mayo to a four-year deal worth a total of $21.35 million and send him to the Bulls.
Another possibility is using the full mid-level exception of $5 million. The most the Bulls could get out of that is the same four-year offer to Mayo worth $21.35 million.
To use that option, the Bulls would have to decline to match Omer Asik’s offer sheet from Houston. Otherwise, they’d be limited to the taxpayer mid-level of $3 million.
They’d also have to find another way to land Hinrich, either through a sign-and-trade with Atlanta or possibly even the bi-annual exception worth $1.9 million, which they could use if Asik walks.
There’s also a chance the Bulls could negotiate an Asik trade before he signs the offer sheet, maybe something involving the Rockets and Grizzlies. That would be a challenge to work out, but it could be done.
I know. My head’s spinning too. So many possibilities.
Speaking of Asik, there’s been an interesting turn of events that could affect his presumed offer sheet from the Rockets. Namely that the Knicks have reportedly decided not to match Houston’s offer sheet on Jeremy Lin.
From the Chicago Tribune:
The New York Knicks reportedly will not match the offer sheet signed by point guard Jeremy Lin from the Houston Rockets.
Lin, a restricted free agent, signed a three-year, $25.1 million deal with Houston. ESPN.com reported a Knicks source said the team would not match the contract because
Lin reportedly would make $5 million next season and $5.225 million during 2013-14 season. The Knicks have until Tuesday to match the Rockets’ offer. it contains a third year worth $14.8 million that would likely subject the team to the NBA’s luxury tax.
Since Lin’s offer and Asik’s reported offer are both backloaded, that means the Rockets would owe the pair of them close to $30 million in 2014-15. That’s an obscene amount of money for a largely unproven (if admittedly seemingly spectacular) point guard and a backup center.
And don’t forget Houston is still trying to land Dwight Howard.
Will the Lin situation affect Houston’s ability to make an offer to Asik? Can it?
I guess we’ll find out. The Knicks have until tomorrow to match Lin’s offer sheet. And at the moment it seems they’ll do what all teams do in this sitution: wait until the last minute to announce their decision.
Still, all signs point toward the fact that Bulls management is more concerned with saving money — both this season and in the future — than improving the team right now.
But maybe management has some amazing moves to make we haven’t seen yet.
The James Johnson era is over in Chicago. According to the ESPN.com news service, the Bulls have traded him to the Toronto Raptors for the Miami Heat’s first round draft pick, which the Raptors obtained in the sign-and-trade deal that sent Chris Bosh to Miami.
It’s not exactly shocking that management would ship Johnson for essentially nothing. After all, J.J. has appeared in only 13 games this season and compiled more turnovers (18) than field goals (17). Let’s face it, his stint in the NBA Developmental League notwithstanding, Johnson was a bust-a-rama. He sure isn’t going to make it on to Basketball-Reference’s list of the best players ever traded at midseason.
And yet…his general bawfulness isn’t why the Bulls dealt him.
Sure, the Bulls have been scouring the D-League for potential shooting guards, but the guy’s they’re looking at would have serious trouble cracking coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation. So, clearly, management has other gambits in play.
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes: “After shedding Johnson’s $1.7 million salary, the Bulls now possess roughly $2.9 million of salary cap space and have stockpiled draft picks. … One source said talks with the Grizzlies regarding O.J. Mayo continue, although his $4.45 million salary would need to be matched and not fully absorbed into cap space. The Bulls could add players like the Cavaliers’ Anthony Parker, the Clippers’ Rasual Butler or the Rockets’ Courtney Lee merely for draft picks with their cap space. The Bulls also could wait until after the trade deadline to see if any prominent players get bought out, and then try to sign them with cap space.”
Okay, quick thoughts.
Rasual Butler: A 36 percent career three-point shooter who can’t crack Vinny Del Negro’s rotation on the Los Angeles Clippers. I wouldn’t want this guy on the Bulls even if he didn’t have the Clippers stank all over him.
Anthony Parker: On the one hand, he’s a savvy vet who’s hitting nearly 40 percent of his treys this season (and 41.3 percent for his career). On the other hand, he’s 35 years and 249 days old. He’s a minor upgrade over Keith Bogans. His contract expires after the season. Basically a rental…which makes me feel iffy. If he’s not part of the team’s future, is there really a point to bringing him in?
Courtney Lee: I’d feel better about Lee than Parker. He’s young (25 years and 143 days) and proved he could stick the three for both the Magic in 2008-09 (40.4 percent) and this year’s Houston squad (42.5 percent). Of course, despite playing for the always-scrappy Rockets, Lee has is giving up more points per 100 possessions (D-Rating of 112) than he’s scoring (O-Rating 107), and that bugs me. He’s also on the books for two more seasons after this one, so while he’s better than Parker, he also represents more of a commitment. The big question: Does he potentially push the Bulls over a championship hump? I doesn’t feel that way to me.
O.J. Mayo: Yes, he’s having a disappointing season. And yes, that disappointing season has been made worse by his 10-game drug suspension and that fight he had on the team plane with teammate Tony Allen. But he’s a young kid with loads of potential. He’s proven he can score (18.5 PPG as a rookie) and shoot (about 38 percent from downtown over his three-season career). Mayo is also a pretty good ball handler and an above-average competitor who, in my opinion, would benefit greatly from playing for Thibs and alongside Derrick Rose. Essentially, he has the biggest upside of any of the guys the Bulls appear to be considering.
Update! According to Yahoo! Sports: “The Chicago Bulls are still pursuing shooting guard Courtney Lee, offering a first-round draft pick to the Houston Rockets, sources said. Chicago could make the offer more intriguing with the addition of the Miami Heat’s 2011 first-round pick that the Bulls acquired from Toronto for forward James Johnson on Tuesday. For now, the Rockets are determined to bring back size and want Bulls center Omer Asik in any package for Lee.”
Quick take: Joakim Noah has missed 48 games over the past two seasons. Kurt Thomas crawled out of the sea more than a million years ago. Asik is raw…but the Bulls need that insurance at the center position. I’m okay with giving up the first rounders, but the team should try to hold onto Asik unless he’s part of a bigger deal for a more significant upgrade.