“Rumors were circulating Sunday that the Washington Wizards, in an attempt to shake things up, are shopping swingman Caron Butler, with the Bulls and the Miami Heat being the likely trading partners. From the Bulls, the Wizards reportedly would seek guard Kirk Hinrich to provide some stability. The rumors also had the expiring contracts of Jerome James and Mike James being included, although the contracts of Butler ($9.78 million) and Hinrich ($9.5 million) are close enough to do the deal straight up.”
Isn’t it funny how almost every trade rumor involving the Bulls centers around Captain Kirk? It’s as though every team in the league wants a shot at Hinrich while the Bulls apparently want nothing more than to be rid of his contract. Forget the fact that when the Bulls are playing well, he’s usually a big part of the reason why. It’s always Hinrich to the Blazers or Hinrich to the Clippers or Hinrich to the Jazz or Hinrich to the Nuggets or Hinrich to the Timberwolves or Hinrich to [Team X]. Well, at least Kirk should feel wanted. Outside of Chicago anyway.
Jackson continued: “Is this a deal that makes sense for the Bulls? Probably. Although Hinrich can play both guard positions and Butler is more of a small forward, Butler can play shooting guard and split minutes with John Salmons. Jannero Pargo and Mike James could play point guard for the few minutes that Derrick Rose is out of the game.”
Eh…I’m always wary of bringing in a new player and immediately asking him play out of position. It also seems that while some players can move from SG to SF, the transition from SF to SG tends to be a little rocky. Just ask John Salmons, who was moved back to the two spot when Luol Deng returned and then promptly forgot how to shoot the basketball. On the other hand, Butler can put up 20 PPG when healthy — note that Caron has missed at least 15 games in each of the last three seasons — and the Bulls (as everyone knows) could certainly use the scoring help.
Of course, Butler isn’t an inside scoring threat nor is he a high-percentage three-point shooter (currently 30.0 percent and only 31.5 percent for his career). Which begs the question: what does he have to offer that the Bulls don’t already have? I mean, 72 percent of his field goal attempts are jump shots. Chicago already has two players in that mold.
I also don’t feel very confident with Jannero Pargo and Mike James as the team’s backcourt relief corps. Pargo is more of a shooter/scorer/spark-plug off the bench (even if Vinny Del Negro has apparently forgotten Jannero was signed last summer), and Mike James is, well, Mike James. There’s a reason he’s played for nine different teams in his nine-year career.
One last important tidbit from Jackson’s report: “Another factor is Butler has just one year remaining on his contract following this season, while Hinrich has two years left. That could an important factor moving forward as the Bulls try to re-sign Rose and center Joakim Noah.”
So while Butler and Hinrich have comparable contracts, Caron’s deal expires a year earlier than Kirk’s. Remember: Jerry Reinsdorf runs the Bulls as though every penny saved just might save the lives of his friends and loved ones…so a deal like this could go through regardless of whether it makes the Bulls a better team.
This trade is exactly what you’d call “close to happening,” but you never know. With all of Chicago’s expiring contracts, this won’t be the last trade rumor the Bulls are involved in before the February trade deadline.