Keep an eye out for Rip

On Saturday, ESPN's Chris Broussard reported
on a three-team deal between the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons
and Minnesota Timberwolves. As constructed, it would send the No. 2 and 8
picks to the Cavaliers, who would send the latter pick to Minnesota for
the No. 2 pick.

Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams in year two of
the post-LeBron James rebuilding phase? The Cavaliers will take that.
Although this deal may be a long ways away.

But the inclusion of
Richard Hamilton, who would go to Cleveland in the proposed deal, may
open up another potential option for the Bulls this offseason.
The Bulls' season came to an abrupt end after a five-game defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat. While their future is bright, they know work needs to be done if they want to compete with the Heat for next year and years to come.

An immediate position to upgrade at is shooting guard. With respect to Keith Bogans, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver, each have their flaws and it's tough to win with either on the floor late in games.

The Bulls found that out the hard way.

Bogans doesn't represent the threat offensively you'd want on the court with Derrick Rose. Brewer is probably the Bulls' best defender from the two guard position, but has an inconsistent jumper. And Korver showed in the postseason exactly what he was in the regular-season: A streaky shooter and terrible defender.

Hamilton might not be the answer. In fact, with Jason Richardson, Jamal Crawford and Arron Afflalo, among others, as upcoming free agents this summer, Hamilton may not even be in the Bulls' top three.

But the Collective Bargaining Agreement is a question-mark. If Richardson and Crawford demand more than the Bulls can offer and Afflalo is kept by the Denver Nuggets, which is likely, the Bulls have to form a backup plan. That could come via trade, as a popular name has been Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo, but his postseason play (11 points per game on 41 percent from three) has definitely made him much more expensive than when the Bulls inquired on the former third overall pick midseason.

It's going to be an interesting time with the potential lockout looming and several free agents on the market to fill the Bulls' need. Yes, Richardson, Crawford, Afflalo and Mayo are ahead of Hamilton in the pecking order, but if they aren't available, the Bulls could certainly turn to Hamilton.

Richard Hamilton.jpg
With the Pistons in rebuilding mode, along with the Cavaliers, Hamilton may be bought out either way -- traded or not.

Hamilton was rumored to have interest in playing in Chicago or Boston if he was bought out this season. But it didn't happen as he and the Pistons never agreed on a buyout.

And the Bulls don't want to touch his contract --  $25 million over the next two seasons -- in any potential trade. The only way he ends up in Chicago is if he's bought out.

Hamilton, 33, would give the Bulls size (6-7), though he isn't the player he once was, as he shot just 42 percent from the field the past two seasons (45 percent career shooting percentage).

Durability is also a concern with Hamilton, who's missed 63 games the past two seasons.

But it's safe to say he's a better option than Bogans, can shoot better than Brewer and is a better defender than Korver, though the latter might not say much.

There are better options out there, there's no question. Although with the question-mark that is the CBA, Hamilton could emerge as the Bulls' sole option to upgrade at shooting guard.

Update: No, nothing new on the Hamilton-to-the-Bulls talks. But it should go without saying, the Bulls won't be able to offer anything but a mid-level exception to Hamilton if he is bought out. The way Hamilton played this season, averaging 14 points in 55 games, he'll probably take that to play with a championship contender.

Comments

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  • Man, I would have loved to have the Rip Hamilton of five years ago. Either way, he would be a temporary upgrade, but Bulls need a long term option. Problem is, there are not many of those available.

  • In reply to KPowell:

    Without doubt, Jason Richardson, Jamal Crawford, Arron Afflalo are all better additions than Richard Hamilton. But I wouldn't count Hamilton out yet. He's still in solid shape, though he's missed some time with injury the past two seasons. Then again, why risk injury when you play on a bottom-feeder.

    The Bulls don't necessarily need a long term option, per say. They're looking to win now, and Rip has a couple solid years left in him. And it's not like the Bulls need him to be the 18 points per game guy he was prior to this season, but he's clearly an offensive upgrade -- overall -- over Bogans, Brewer and Korver.

  • In reply to Shams Charania:

    But the Bulls do need a guy that can average 18 per. We need a scorer. If he isn't averaging 15-20 a game then he isn't that big of an upgrade.

  • In reply to KPowell:

    Sure he is. Korver, Bogans and Brewer combined averaged around 15 points during the postseason. I'm pretty sure Rip Hamilton could do that for the Bulls.

    The Bulls don't need a 20-point per game guy at shooting guard. There are some around the league, and they're not cheap. Rip Hamilton, while not the best option, would be a solid fallback one if Jason Richardson, Afflalo and Crawford sign elsewhere. We'll see.

  • In reply to KPowell:

    I don't think signing rip hamilton is a good choice. Still remember the rebellion that he caused at pistons just because he doesn't like their coach ??? What if he rebel against thibs at chicago bulls. This guy can make our locker room explode every time. Same thing for mayo (a fight with teammate just because of poker game??? That's ABSURD!!!!). Go find a way to sign affalo or courtney lee, not a troublemaker like rip and mayo.

  • In reply to CoolWind:

    It's always tough to deal with losing. Rip Hamilton didn't deal with it well this past season. Granted, Jon Kuester wasn't the greatest coach around, as his job's in extreme jeopardy. But Thibs is a different story. He had his imprints all over this year's team. He's a straight up coach; he doesn't sugar coat.

    Rip dealt with that coaching style during the Pistons' title runs in 2004 and 2005 (won it in '04) with Larry Brown. He'll respect Thibodeau. Rip is a veteran; he knows what he'd have to do, and joining a championship contending team would probably rejuvenate him.

    Still, he isn't the top-notch option that the Bulls might need to get over the hump. Richardson, Crawford and Afflalo look like the best three options, though you never know how much they'd want. And the Nuggets seem intent on keeping Afflalo. Who knows, Rip may be the best upgrade the Bulls will find.

  • In reply to Shams Charania:

    One can only hope that rip will bow to thibs. Then, trying for richardson and affalo are good move too. But please no jamal crawford. He's bad. Real bad. Don't want him at all.

  • In reply to CoolWind:

    I can see where you're coming from. Even though he's a 10-year "veteran", some of the shots he takes are still head-scratchers. But he can still make things happen off the dribble. And we saw that Derrick Rose and the Bulls need that during times Derrick isn't feeling it.

    I've been calling for Afflalo since December. All the talk was about the Bulls trying to acquire J.R. Smith when he wasn't even the best SG on that roster. Afflalo is the exact player I'd want to see run the backcourt with Rose. Their games complement each other so well. It'd be interesting, though I don't see Denver letting him go.

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