Say goodbye to Captain Kirk and the 17th pick…say hello to cap space

After being one-upped in the all-important “Cap Space Race” by the Miami Heat — who created extra financial flexibility by trading Daequan Cook and their first round pick in last night’s draft — the Bulls countered by reportedly agreeing to send Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to the Washington Wizards for (you guessed it!) extra financial flexibility.

Take that, Pat Riley.

According to ESPN the Magazine’s Ric Bucher: “The Chicago Bulls have a deal in place that would move Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to the Washington Wizards, freeing up enough cap space to pursue two maximum-salary players in this summer’s free-agent market, sources with knowledge of the Bulls’ plans said Thursday.”

Now, the reason I say the Bulls have “reportedly” agreed to this trade is because it cannot become official until July 8. See, that’s when the Wiz will have enough room under the salary cap to absorb Hinrich’s contract without exchanging a player or players of similar value.

So last night, the Bulls selected Kevin Seraphin with the 17th pick. And yes, he slapped on a Bulls hat after his name was called, but it’s somewhere between “very unlikely” and “highly unlikely” that he’ll ever wear a Bulls jersey. He’s headed to Washington. Know what I mean? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more.

After picking Seraphin, Gar Forman released the following statement:

“This evening we selected Kevin Seraphin with the 17th overall pick of the NBA Draft,” Forman said. “At this time, we are currently in discussions to trade our draft rights to Kevin Seraphin; however, we will not be able to complete a trade until after the moratorium period concludes on July 8.

“With that said, we are not at liberty to identify the team that we are talking to or reveal any other specifics of potential trades. Therefore, we will have no comment on this selection until we have completed all trade discussions.”

Mind you, Chicago’s agreement with the Wizards is what you’d call a “good-faith deal.” In other words, either party could back out before July 8. Obviously, the Bulls aren’t going to — they started trying to dump Kirk’s contract about fve minutes after the ink dried — but Washington could.

However, it appears the Sacramento Kings — who relieved the Bulls of Andres Nocioni’s contract back in 2009 — would be willing to make a Hinrich-for-cap-space exchange if the Wizards get cold feet.

But assuming the trade goes through as planned…what does that mean?

According to Bucher: “Either way, moving Hinrich and the pick would push Chicago’s space under the cap from $20 million to more than $30 million. That puts the Bulls on equal footing with the Miami Heat in pursuing not just one but two members of a free-agent class that is expected to include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Amare Stoudemire and Joe Johnson.”

So…although a theoretical core of Bosh-LeBron-Wade would trump LeBron-Noah-Rose, would it trump Bosh-LeBron-Rose-Noah? Or LeBron-Johnson-Noah-Rose? Or Boozer-LeBron-Noah-Rose? Or LeBron-Noah-Rose-Stoudemire? Or Bosh-Johnson-Rose-Noah? Or…?!

And that’s not to mention Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and James Johnson. The only other supporting character the Heat have on staff right now is Michael Beasley…and they want nothing more than to get rid of him.

Look, I was a big fan of Kirk Hinrich. I liked the utility he provided. I liked the way he could play both guard spots, the way he could defend three positions, the way he never backed down and did what he was told with relatively few complaints (the occasional sour look notwithstanding).

But let’s face it: Expunging his salary opens up a lot of amazing possibilities for the Bulls. Many things will have to happen before it’s all said and done — two big-namers must agree to sign, and management will have to fill out the roster with a couple shooters and a few capable backups — but the Bulls could become championship contenders by as early as…

…next season.

And seriously, why wouldn’t the big-namers want to come here? As John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times pointed out: “With a nucleus of point guard Derrick Rose (the team’s first All-Star since the Jordan era), center Joakim Noah, small forward Luol Deng and power forward Taj Gibson, the Bulls have more quality talent in place than any other of the teams with significant cap room.”

And don’t think the big boys aren’t taking notice.

This is what Bosh had to say on ESPN Radio yesterday: “Chicago is a team worth checking out. When you have a city like Chicago and you have young talent like Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah and a new coach like Tom Thibodeau, that’s something worth looking at. I know they’re all about winning. I know they have a winning tradition in Chicago and I know they’re trying to get back there.”

Of course, Bosh also said: “Toronto is a great place. … They have a lot of good things going. And they’re definitely a team that I’m going to be looking at very hard because they can do things that other teams can’t.”

In other words, they can offer him more money than anybody else can. So, like I said, many things will have to happen before Bulls fans start buying their 2011 NBA Finals tickets in advance.

But it’s starting to look like the sky’s the limit.

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24 Responses to Say goodbye to Captain Kirk and the 17th pick…say hello to cap space

    Brad S. June 25, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    It’s a smart move but, as really smart moves often do, this one hurts. I will miss Kirk and the constant effort that he gave. Here’s to being “All In”, eh?

    BULL4EVER June 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm #

    It may have been tough for Hinrich to go to those Washington Wizards, but hey these Bulls are trying to return to that 90’s greatness they once had.You have to give up good players for great players[like LBJ,Bosh,Stoudemire,Johnson and Boozer, that is what is has always been about.

    joe June 25, 2010 at 3:03 pm #

    It is sick to give up a pick and a team captain for nothing. I hate the FA market.

    Rose made Kirk redundant at PG, he’s not a true SG and is an expensive backup. He had to go if this team wants to improve.

    Kirk will help Wall break into the NBA, as he did with Rose. A good guy who will play hard and come off the bench if asked.

    In 2 years when Wall is ready Kirk’s contract ends. The Wizards did well.

    Landon June 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

    If the Bulls go after Joe Johnson instead of size such as Bosh or Boozer, they are in for another disappointment this season! People need to stop mentioning his name, he would not fit on the Bulls! They need help in the front-court! They have enough money now, so whoever they add such as D-Wade or maybe Lebron to help D-Rose, we will just need depth down low to help Noah. Let another team take on JJ Gar!!

  5. Ryan June 25, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    I need to go pick up some Heat vs. Bulls tickets before free agency ends. Between the Bulls and the Heat we may be able to see Rose, Noah, Lebron, Wade, Bosh, Joe Johnson, and Boozer/Amare all on the same court!! I know the sourpuss’ out there will mention NY and NJ, but they may get the bottom of the barrel.

    The Bucks, 76ers, and Wizards (with Gilbert coming back too) are starting to look WAAAY better than last year. The East will be wacky next year, and I can’t wait to see how the chips fall a week from now.

  6. duke 86 June 25, 2010 at 5:05 pm #

    sign Lebron and Joe Johnson then trade Deng, Gibson and Asik and Bobcats 1st rounder for Bosh and Sonny Weems who played very well at the end of last year and dosent even make $1 million with that we have a lineup of: Noah Bosh Lebron Joe Johnson and D. Rose
    a bench of James Johnson (who to me if he can mature reminds me of Paul Pierce) resign Brad Miller, Sign a backup point (maybe Steve Blake) Sonny Weems, Resign Acie Law and Joe Alexander and a big who want to take a big paycut to win (maybe Nick Collison??) with that we are champs 4 sure….hell fire Pax And Gar and hire me!!!! lol

    Savage June 25, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    “We’re going to Chicago,” William Wesley tells people, “and Chris Bosh(notes) is coming, too.” Enough said! Can’t wait to see you guys in Chicago!!!! Time for another dynasty!

  8. John June 25, 2010 at 8:02 pm #

    This makes me sick… we are selling out for nottin that is certain… Even if we do get our “dream” and sign lbj and bosh do we really think that will work in terms of chemistry? Are rose and lbj supposed to share the ball efficiently w/o takin away from the others talent? Is bosh who has said time and time again he deserves to be number 1 be ok with bein relegated to number 3?? What money are we gonna have to go after a shooter after spending 2 max contracts?? I believe that takes up all the cap space and then Im not even sure we qualify for mid level exception…

    Sure a line up w/ rose lbj bosh and noah looks sexy on paper…but who plays the 2? take deng or lbj outa position? get some old guy willin to take veterans minimum??

    IF(and a BIG IF) this happens I see A LOT of termoil coming… a lot of egos clashing and a lot of drama… we dont even have the veteran presence of kirk anymore to try to keep things good. I am not at all convinced bosh and lbj are about winnin(one reason im not even sure they will come to chicago). BOsh wants to be the man and get paid. LBJ wants to put on a show and become a billionare… Are they supposed to listen to fairly new players in rose and noah about winnin?? im sry i dont see it happening…

    Call me a hater, call me a debby downer, but im being real. Im a bulls fan all the way but this hurts! and is painful to see us selling out like this for no sure thing. I didnt even get into what happens if we dont get our “wet dream.”

    Just member this… wet dreams are in fact DREAMS and are sticky to clean…

    Savage June 25, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    John, LOL you typify the classic never happy Chicago fan for the last decade. Are you crazy? Complaining and worrying about getting two of the top players in the game and only losing Hinrich. Man I guess some will always find something to complain about huh.. If we add LBJ and Bosh our starting line up that you are complaining about would be PG Rose, SG LBJ, SF Deng, PF Bosh, C Noah. Not sure how you can complain about that but I do have to give it up to your crazy skepticism.

  10. TexasBearsFan June 25, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    Only someone like John could take the idea of trading in Heinrich, who was always decent but never great, for the best player in the game and make it into something bad.

    AK Dave June 25, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    Too bad about Kirk.

    Not just him getting traded, but in general, his whole career has been a bummer. I’m not sure if he’s just a head case, or if the team/style/management wasn’t suited to his strengths, or maybe he has been injured worse than I know about.

    In any event, as much as we all love Kirk, he has underachieved, and his game seems to have shrunk ever since that fantastic summer when the Bulls swept MIA and Kirk played solid ball for the USA in World qualifying.

    We all hoped he would become an all-star, but it just hasn’t happened, and at this point, he kinda is what he is. A solid defender, streaky shooter, good ball-handler, but not an all-star.

    Good luck moving forward, Kirk. God knows you still can have a great career with the right team and a healthy season, but chances are, you’ll be second-fiddle to a rookie on a shitty team (Wizards). What a shame.


    inkybreath June 26, 2010 at 12:00 am #

    Hey, the guy will continue to make fans with D, hustle and grit. The truth is that he had his chance on this team and he didn’t put himself over the top. Love the guy to death – but hey, he got his childhood dream of playing guard for the Bulls – he is not lacking, so much. I am really, really looking forward to watching him play D on Rose!

    BoppinBob June 26, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    I guess nobody noticed that the Bulls did not start winning this past season until they sat Salmon and started Capt. Kirk. Anybody who calls him a bust does not know basketball (AK Dave). He was not an all-star, but he was a solid starting guard. He does the little things and the dirty work that makes a difference in the W/L column. He will be sorely missed, mark my words. The Bulls now need to add 2 quality guards to their roster that can play 25 to 53 minutes a game. I believe that the Bull need to make Bosh their primary target and then try for J. Johnson as a second signee. The Bulls roster is presently comprised of Rose, Noah, Deng, Gibson, Johnson, Richard and Kurz. If they can sign Bosh and Joe Johnson without sign and trade (highly unlikely) the Bulls will still need 2 more centers, 2 more guards. If they do a sign and trade they will also have to replace the guys they send away. Making the playoffs next year is not a given even if they sign LBJ.

  14. John June 26, 2010 at 1:16 am #

    I am simply tryin to keep it real…while yall are in fantasy land im tryin to figure out whats gonna happen in the real world even if we get the “dream”. Bottom line is there will be too many egos… this isnt the celtics of 08 where the big three were all startin to decline and get old and desperately wanting a championship. If you truly feel bosh and lbjs number one priorty is winnin then u are wrong.

    Secondly what happens if we dont make this happen?? Over pay and give max contracts to those not deserving? gay? boozer? etc… At least before we started sellin out we knew we had a playoff team(that woulda been the 5 seed if not for late killer injuries to EVERYONE). Now if we strike out not only might we have no cap room but we will be perrenial 3rd seeders…

    Everyone needs to think things through and tryin to come down from cloud 9 for 2 seconds.

    Adrian June 26, 2010 at 1:52 am #

    Dont forget David Lee, I don’t have time to elaborate but he would fit perfectly without disrupting chemistry.

  16. Anonymous June 26, 2010 at 4:08 am #

    I would like to see Lebron and Amare or Boozer

    RTG June 26, 2010 at 5:10 pm #

    C’s fan here. Wonderful time for your team. Wanted to say a couple of things:

    1. Joe Johnson is wildly overrated. Read HoopinionBlog’s season review of him and then decide if you want to sign that to a 6 year contract. I didn’t think so. In fact, from a C’s fan perspective, I think the C’s could handle a Rose/Johnson/LBJ/Taj Gibson (?)/Noah lineup as long as the ? isn’t Bosh or Lee or Boozer.

    2. If Bosh wants to be the #1 option, why aren’t you guys interested in NY’s David Lee? Years of playing on a bad team has really sullied his reputation. I also doubt he would have chemistry problems like Bosh might b/c he’ll probably be glad to be on a winning team (for the first 2-3 years, at least).

    3. What do you think of this? Sign LBJ and one of the PFs and then trade Deng for S&T’ed Ray Allen (and some other pieces/picks) from the C’s roster. Yes, Ray Allen is old as hell but he’s still one of the NBA’ premier shooters, is a great citizen, won’t demand touches, and as we saw in the Finals, will D up if the championship is on the line.

  18. jay kay June 26, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    Thank goodness we got rid of captain crap! we have a large amount of cap room to sign two guys who will get us a ship and have another 3 peat! I think our lineup will be: Rose, johnson, deng, bosh, noah… with backups like pargo,taj,james johnson, and brad. also we are not forgetting myself, Hakim Warrick. I am calling a Championship for us! JAY KAY… im not hakim….. im his pshycologist!!!

    AK Dave June 27, 2010 at 2:44 am #

    Boppinbop said: “Anybody who calls him a bust does not know basketball (AK Dave).”

    Point to where I said “bust” in my previous comment. No? Not there?

    Thought so. Have a nice day.

  20. Anonymous June 28, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    That is silly John. If we get LBJ and Bosh this year we will win a championship within 2 years PERIOD

    Savage June 28, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    That is silly John. If we get LBJ and Bosh this year we will win a championship within 2 years PERIOD

    reggie June 29, 2010 at 5:45 am #

    Wait a min this cannot be all bulls fans I am hearing talk what we the bulls have here is a good team a plyer or two away from being a great team which means it does not have to be LBJ to be a winner here, most of you sound like sell outs (1) D rose true superstar and growing (2) Noah a growing board beast and shot blocker (3)with deng/gibson and johnson this bulls team will b a true contender reguardless if we get wade LBJ or bosh as long as we get some good quality players to go with what we got. The message should be clear to those F,A,’s out there if you want to win and we ask if you want to be a bulls then you should be willing to come to CHi enough said stop the beggin or drooling I aint all goo goo over LBJ and wade and Bosh less they come to CHi if not then they are the enemy period.

    reggie June 29, 2010 at 5:49 am #

    i hear that Joe Johnson wants to be a bull if that is so then maybe if the other free agents are not sure or just wasting our time then the bulls sign him and a boozer and a rudy gay/david lee then move on from there with those players Rose has to have the chance to win here and I give him all my respect , for what he has done so far and look forward to watching him become an even greater player than he already is so I just hope that the bulls dont wait to baby these players for they have had enough time to decide what they want to do they know who has what so now Gar or John ask them the question and if the answer is not yes then tell them ty and go to the next player who you want on our team and if they say yes sign them right then and there or soon as possible. Peace

    reggie June 29, 2010 at 5:51 am #

    Oh yes thanks Kirk for all the years of good play you will always be a true bulls player in my eyes . Peace

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