There are certain things in life you can’t wait to be rid of. In-laws. The flu. Hangovers (also known as flu-like symptoms). The nasty “rash” you “picked up” during your freshman year of college. For the Bulls and their fans, Larry Hughes is that rash. He’s already dropped rock-like out of Vinny Del Negro’s rotation, and, frankly, it says something about Hughes’ character that Jud Buechler could average 10 minutes per game for a 72-win Bulls team and yet “Big Shot Larry” is riding the pine for a Chicago squad destined for around 35 wins and another trip to the NBA draft lottery.
So, yeah, the John Paxson is trying to trade him.
Not surprisingly, there isn’t exactly a healthy market for delusional shooting guards who are best known for taking too many bad shots while earning a cap-killing salary (Hughes is on the books for $12,827,676 this season and $13,655,268 the next). Fortunately for Paxson and the Bulls, those suckers in New Jersey are giving Hughes a serious look:
“The Nets and Bulls have discussed a deal that would bring veteran shooting guard Larry Hughes to New Jersey for Bobby Simmons and Maurice Ager, league sources said. Sean Williams was offered instead of Ager, but Chicago wasn’t interested. Both sides are considering it, although the Bulls are talking to many teams about Hughes, who is signed through next season. The Nets are weighing whether the deal makes them that much better and if it’s financially smart. The additional salary next season would be more than $3 million.”
Wow. Can you imagine a team paying extra to trade for a cranky volume shooter with a history of alienating his teammates and coaches? Of course, the Nets are the same bunch who signed Vince Carter to that $62 million contract a couple summers ago. So there you go.
Would the trade help the Bulls? Sure, insomuch as it would dispose of The Larry Hughes Distraction (which, itself, was acquired to eradicate The Ben Wallace Mistake). But Bobby Simmons…in a best case scenario, he would provide streaky shooting and stubborn defense in limited minutes. So, what, he’s basically a slightly taller version of Thabo Sefolosha? Be still my heart. He might be useful, I guess, if Vinny D decided to go with a small lineup. But I don’t see that happening, and so therefore I don’t see much of a role for Simmons in Chicago. And Ager? He’s a throw-in. The trade is nothing more or less than a salary dump with the hope that the incoming players will sit quietly at the end of the bench, hand out Gatorade during timeouts, and be prepared to contribute if and when they’re called upon. (Unless this is simply the first part of some masterstroke by John Paxson to land the frontcourt player the Bulls so desperately need. Which is doubtful.)
Will the trade help the Nets? If only you could hear my snorts of laughter. Let’s face it: If trading for Larry Hughes would actually help anybody, the Bulls probably wouldn’t be so ready and frantically willing to deal him.