With the lockout looming and uncertainty of what new rules will apply to the NBA after the lockout is resolved. Front offices will likely take different tacks in how aggressive they want to be under their last chance to use the old rules.
The Bulls should be among the most aggressive in terms of trying to get something done now.
Will the MLE be back?
The MLE has generated quite a few bad contracts, and the owners, theoretically, want to remove it from the game. Without an MLE or some type of exception to next year's cap adding anyone via free agency outside of players at the minimum might prove impossible.
I find it unlikely the MLE goes away, because teams will always need some ability to shake up their roster outside of trades and adding guys at the vet minimum. Owners do want to save money, but I am betting they'll find a way to save it that doesn't strip their front offices of all power to make change the roster.
That said, the MLE has been a large target for the owners, so this might be a situation where they don't realize what they're doing until it's too late. The Bulls probably want to strike now via trade rather than take the risk.
Keith Bogans deal has a guarantee date of July 10th
It's not a certainty, but it's likely this guarantee date is valid regardless of the lockout, and that any team trading for Bogans for salary relief needs to waive him prior to that guarantee date.
The Bulls are likely comfortable bringing Bogans back. If they don't use him as trade filler at the deadline for a team that wants to immediately waive him then I'd want to bring him back too.
In fact, despite all my complaining, if Bogans is sent somewhere else and waived, I'd hope we could resign him afterwards. My problem with Bogans has never been Bogans himself, but the fact that at times his playing time was too great. However, for a guy making a shade over the minimum he provides great depth and risk reduction.
Back on point, Bogans as a trade chip has far more value right now than he will later on in the year. Combined with Pargo, Lucas, and our cap room, the Bulls can send out enough value to take back about six million in salary while the receiving team has to pay nothing.
The Bulls window to make such a trade ends on draft day
The ability to do that ends on draft day when our picks become cap holds against our future salary and we lose cap room. At that point, our 2.9 million in cap room will become closer to 1 million in cap room, and we'll be down to a four million or so player.
Granted, the Bulls could throw their draft picks in on the trade, but if the deal isn't struck on draft day the value of those picks declines considerably when the receiving team no longer gets to choose the players.
Thus, if a deal's done, draft day is the most likely time. In theory, they could line up something earlier, but most teams will wait for draft day when everyone is wheeling and dealing rather than trying to get something to come together early.
The Bulls best chance to improve the shooting guard position likely comes at the draft time
The Future rules may prohibit the Bulls from adding a free agent. The value of their assets will decline as soon as Bogans guarantee date hits, and most teams looking to trade will want to do so at the draft.
Add up those three things, and the Bulls best chance to strike is on draft day. Their most likely odds of finding something revolve around adding salary to the team. Ben Gordon and Andre Iguodala may get salary dumped. The Celtics may agree to dump Allen and rebuild. The Grizzlies may trade Mayo to avoid his future salary hit.
There are potential deals out there that can be struck on draft day, it's the Bulls best chance at plugging the holes.