The Lakers want Kirk Hinrich, sort of. The Bulls want to dump him. The issue seems to be the Lakers won't entirely give the Bulls expiring deals, instead they want to unload Sasha Vujacic who is still owed 5 million in salary next season. Both teams are exploring options for a 3rd team to step up and take Vujacic's salary with Tyrus Thomas possibly going to that team as a sweetner.
Portland was considered to possibly be that team. Now Minnesota is considered possibly to be that team. I don't think Tyrus Thomas as a rental is really worth taking on Sasha Vujacic for a full extra season, so I find it highly unlikely a deal like this goes through with anyone.
So assuming that the three team option can't be found, who blinks first?
If the Bulls can't dump Salmons or Hinrich elsewhere then trading Hinrich in this move does give them enough cap room to make a max FA offer next season even with Vujacic hanging around on the team. In other words, while hardly ideal, this trade would give the Bulls the flexibility they demand to stay in the 2010 race.
On the other hand, the Lakers may still feel like they have to do something, and in the end, the Lakers have money to spend. They were the most profitable team in the league last season, and if they think this significantly helps their championship odds then they ultimately have more to lose by not making such a move.
Does either team blink and soften their demands to get this done or is Hinrich still a Bull after the trade deadline? Interestingly, the Bulls have apparently passed on several opportunities to dump Hinrich for expirings over the past year. John Paxson mentioned the opportunity to guarantee cap relief last deadline when stating he didn't take it. The Bulls also were rumored to pass on moving Hinrich to the Blazers in the off-season for expirings.
If they get stuck with him and somehow don't free up enough room to make a max FA offer, then they'll have no one to blame but themselves.