I bet you’ve been wondering who the Bulls are going to select in tonight’s NBA Draft.
However, if Bulls management has it’s way, some other team is going to end up with the 17th pick.
According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: “Like the Heat’s trade of Daequan Cook and their first-round pick, the Bulls are trying to shave payroll for free agency. They’ve tried to package the pick with Luol Deng or Kirk Hinrich with little serious interest yet, although talks with the Clippers continue.”
Speaking of the Cook trade, the Heat pulled off a real coup there.
According to Israel Gutierrez of the Miami Herald: “By trading [Cook], the Heat have only Beasley ($4.96 million) and Mario Chalmers ($850,000) under contract next season. The Heat also avoids having to budget $1.2 million in salary cap space for the No. 18 pick. With the salary cap set at $56 million, that would leave the Heat with enough space to re-sign Wade, another max-salary player and possibly a third max player (between $15-$17 million for the first year of the deal).”
Pat Riley’s salary wrangling has allowed the Miami to Leapfrog Chicago as The Most Desirable Potential Destination for LeBron James. After all, the Heat could realistically field a three-man core of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and (say) Chris Bosh.
I hate to admit it, but that would certainly trump a LeBron-Rose-Noah combo. But that won’t stop the Bulls from working to make moves right up until the last minute.
Said Bulls GM Gar Forman: “There are a lot of things we’re considering, some of which the (No. 17) pick is involved with. We’re not just going to move the pick (alone) for financial consideration. Like trade deadlines, a lot of times things don’t happen until the 24th hour.”
Like a trade that would send Luol Deng to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Mickael Pietrus and Marcin Gortat? Apparently, this deal has been discussed…but it’s unlikely to occur. For financial reasons, of course.
According to Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald: “This deal would save the Bulls about $22 million in future salaries, but it wouldn’t give them any more cap space to add a second free agent this summer. In fact, it would erase about $300,000 in cap space, which probably makes this move unlikely. … The Bulls wouldn’t mind moving Deng this summer to add a second free agent, but they’re not likely to trade him for two reserves and no cap relief.”
Remember: Even if nothing happens by tonight, the Bulls still have a week or two to shed salary for the upcoming free agent bonanza. I’m not sure whether management can actually move Deng and/or Hinrich — their contracts are that much of an anchor — but if you’re a fan of either guy, I suggest you make peace with the idea of seeing them in another uniform next season.
You know, just in case.