Well, the Phoenix Suns obliterated the Los Angeles Clippers 140-100 last night under new coach Alvin “I’m bringin’ the run-and-fun back” Gentry. That’s a dead coach bounce if I’ve ever seen one. But that seeming breakout win, in addition to the fear that he’ll be remembered as The Man Who Killed Happiness In Phoenix, will probably keep Steve Kerr from sending Amare Stoudemire anywhere but the training room for ice and a massage. (And, indeed, Kerr is hinting as much.)
But not even that cold dose of reality can douse the flames of trade scuttlebutt. To wit, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has outlined the following three new rumors involving the Bulls:
Rumor #1: “The Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves have been exchanging trade proposals that include a possible three-way deal with the Suns that would send Stoudemire to the Bulls, a Western Conference executive said Tuesday night. So far, nothing that the Bulls and Wolves have brainstormed has brought the Suns closer to moving Stoudemire. Nevertheless, one proposed deal would send Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas to Phoenix, along with the expiring contracts of Chicago’s Drew Gooden and Minnesota’s Jason Collins. Minnesota would receive the player it covets — Chicago guard Kirk Hinrich — and Bulls guard Thabo Sefolosha.”
Liklihood: Next to none. Stoudemire, it appears, is off the market.
Rumor #2: “The Bulls want expiring contracts and draft picks to dump Hinrich and forward Andres Nocioni. Chicago has shopped them separately to several teams, but sources say Minnesota has no interest in Nocioni. However, sources say the Wolves and Bulls are discussing Hinrich and Sefolosha for Collins and Brian Cardinal. The Wolves are intrigued with Hinrich’s ability to play the point and off-guard and see him as a good complement to Randy Foye. Collins and Cardinal have shorter-term contracts that bring Chicago payroll relief.”
Liklihood: Reasonably high. Remember, Kevin McHale was pretty psyched about signing Marko Jaric a few years back. (Said McHale at the time: “We’re extremely excited to have acquired Marko.” Little did he know that signing would define his tenure as Minnesota’s GM…until he traded Kevin Garnett.) With Al Jefferson out for the season, I’m sure McHale would love to bring in another overpriced white point guard to kill the team’s cap.
Look, when the New Orleans Hornets traded Tyson Chandler yesterday for a couple of expiring contracts, it was a sign that the crappy economy has finally forced teams to cut their payroll regardless of the cost to team chemistry or wins and losses. There’s no question the Bulls have improved since Kirk returned from injury, but, from a financial perspective, Jerry Reinsdorf would rather have another watch Collins’ contract come off the books this July and Cardinal’s expire the following summer than overpay Hinrich for the next three and a half more seasons.
Rumor #3: “The Bulls have also had discussions with the Los Angeles Clippers regarding center Chris Kaman, one Western Conference executive said.”
Liklihood: Slightly more probable than getting Amare at this point, but still pretty unlikely. (Although with Marcus Camby and Zach Randolph, there might not be a lot of room in L.A.’s frontcourt when Kaman gets healthy…hmm.) Which is just as well. Yeah, he’d improve our interior defense and give the Bulls a back-to-the-basket scoring option. But Kaman’s a Clipper. He’s got the taint.