Jason Richardson is reportedly going to sign a four-year, $25 million contract with the Orlando Magic. So you can officially cross his name off the list of potential Bulls shooting guards.
Apparently, J-Rich decided to go for money over winning. After all, Dwight Howard has demanded a trade. So unless Orlando pulls off an amazing trade for several quality players, the Magic aren’t going to be very good this season. And maybe not for a long while to come.
As ESPNChicago’s Nick Friedell points out, finances will likely prevent the Bulls from acquiring other high profile targets such as Arron Afflalo, Jamal Crawford and Nick Young. Which makes Rip Hamilton the team’s most likely target. And all signs point to Hamilton inking a deal with the Bulls.
Additional reports indicate the Bulls may go after Howard.
That’s not going to happen.
Again, according to capologist Larry Coon, in order to make the numbers work in a deal which would include Hedo Turkoglu (there’s little doubt the Magic would include Turkoglu’s contract in any proposed deal for Howard) the Bulls would give up Joakim Noah, Luol Deng, Omer Asik and Taj Gibson, plus probably a draft pick or two. Does Smith really want to build his post-Howard Magic squad around Deng and Noah? Both have had injury problems in the past; but what is surely more alarming to Smith is the fact that Deng and Noah have guaranteed contracts worth more than $100 million over eight years.
Not to mention the fact that Asik and Gibson are due for big raises over the next year. Does Smith really believe that the best deal to make revolves around that kind of guaranteed money within his own conference?
There are major questions whether Howard would even want to play in Chicago, and the deal outlined above simply wouldn’t be that attractive to the Magic…not if they’re going to rebuild. So let’s assume Dwight won’t be walking through that door any time soon. As in ever.
Neither is Kurt Thomas, who plans to sign a two-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers. I’ll miss Big Sexy. He was professional and tough, and he really came through when Noah was injured last season. Still, Thomas is the league’s oldest player, and with the emergence of Asik, Kurt was a luxury more than anything else.
One major non-luxury is the future of Derrick Rose. But the Bulls are on the verge of taking care of that. According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Rose will win on the bottom line soon. General manager Gar Forman said the formality of Rose’s five-year, $94 million extension is being finalized with Rose’s agents, Arn Tellem and B.J. Armstrong.
Said Forman: “Derrick is the centerpiece of what we’re putting together here. We want Derrick to be a Bull for a long, long time. It’s very important that we put the right pieces around Derrick.”
My take: We will soon see a Bulls team that look very much like last year’s squad…except that Hamilton will replace Bogans as the starting two guard. Which means, as long as everybody stays healthy, the Bulls can be as good as anybody.