Magic men: Two league sources said the Magic is one of many teams the Bulls have talked to in their attempts to pare payroll before the Feb. 18 trade deadline. Guard Anthony Johnson has an expiring contract and the Bulls are making John Salmons and Tyrus Thomas available to any takers.
The Bulls remain focused on acquiring at least one expiring contract before the deadline.
For a trade involving Johnson [from the Magic] and Salmons or Tyrus [from the Bulls] to go down, other salaries need to be included. Looking over the roster, the only salary that really fits is JJ Reddick. Everyone else makes too little or isn't expiring.
Working from a base of Reddick + Johnson, you don't have enough salary to match John Salmons, so the obvious trade would be Reddick + Johnson for Tyrus. Orlando would also need to pick up a minimum salary player to meet the minimum roster requirements.
It's possible they could throw out Reddick + Johnson + Barnes for Salmons, but that would require them to grab two minimum salary players to fill out the roster plus they'd be taking on more salary than sending out, so it'd add a fairly hefty luxury tax bill to a roster that really can't afford it. The Bulls would probably need to cover the extra 3 million in roster expense for the Magic in that case.
I'm not an expert on the Magic, but I think the first trade feels more likely than the second trade. Though the second trade combined with a James Johnson + Tyrus for Brendan Haywood trade makes some sense, as the Bulls would lose: Salmons, JJ, Tyrus and bring in Haywood, Reddick, and Barnes.
They'd replace two rotation players with three rotation players while adding more shooting, defense, and better financial flexibility heading into next season. There are reasons both those trades make sense for the other team as well, but neither is a no brainer for the other team.