The Bulls could've traded for Stoudemire last season, but opted not
to. He's certainly on their radar and discussions between now and the
Feb. 18 trade deadline will take place. However, to label him the
Bulls' top priority is overstating matters.
Mike Mcgraw adds:
In the same scenario last year, Phoenix was interested
in a package of Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha for Stoudemire but
also wanted multiple first-round picks, according to a league source,
and the Bulls passed.
A source confirmed the Bulls have had discussions with
the Lakers about Hinrich, most likely for Adam Morrison and Sasha
Vujacic, but nothing is imminent.
Salmons' contract is relatively low risk. He's owed
$6.7 million next season and has an option to terminate the final year
of his deal, so he might turn out to be an expiring contract anyway.
It's possible the Bulls could resurrect the potential
deal sending Salmons, Brad Miller and Jerome James to Houston for Tracy
McGrady and filler before the deadline.
By trading either guard before the deadline, the Bulls
could have around $20 million to spend on free agents this summer and
wouldn't have to sweat Salmons' decision of whether or not to opt out
of his contract.
So first, the Bulls passed on Amare for multiple 1sts, Tyrus and Thabo. We would have also had to have moved Gooden in that deal to match salary, so you couldn't do the Noc/Gooden for Brad/Salmons swap anymore which Sacramento only did to save money on Gooden vs Miller. We also wouldn't have Taj Gibson and James Johnson [Taj was acquired for Thabo, Johnson would have been the pick traded].
So now the Bulls roster would have been something like this:
Rose, Hinrich, Deng, Amare, Noah, Noc, minimum salary guys
If we could have kept Gordon and added him to the roster and used the MLE on a 3rd big man, that team would have be contender good. Of course, at this point, Gordon was probably going to leave no matter what, so that may not be entirely feasible.
Even without Gordon, that team looks like it's just a couple pieces away from contending, and not star player type pieces, but role player type pieces. If the Bulls turn their present situation into something better, I'll be fairly impressed.
As for the other trade rumors, who knows, I think trading those three guys for McGrady would hurt the team quite a bit this year unless the Bulls get a viable big man back to replace Miller. They only have three big men who can play on the roster right now, and two of them are dealing with plantar fascitiis.
The Hinrich deal also hurts the team in the short run, and has only a quasi-gain for the Bulls, I mean they're only saving about 3.5 million on the cap next year, so it doesn't open up that much room, and it would hurt the team this year and possibly make them less desirable in the summer due to a worse core.
It does free up all the money in 2011, but we won't need the money freed up then, so that's only a quasi-gain from a financial planning perspective.