An NBA source says "no deal is imminent or even likely" including the Bulls acquiring a shooting guard.
Rumors have swirled with the under-production of Bulls starting shooting
guard Keith Bogans (3.9 PPG, .482 eFG%, .303 3P% on 76 3PAs). But an
NBA source tells the Chicago Sun-Times that "no deal is imminent or even likely."
About two weeks ago, I took a look at the Bulls' options for upgrading the shooting guard
position with the conclusion that every option I explored probably
doesn't improve the Bulls roster as a whole. I mentioned O.J. Mayo in
that mix, but not Stephen Jackson. Before that, I argued the best option is to start Ronnie Brewer.
Recent reports state Jackson is "on the Bulls radar."
Former Northwestern University head coach Kevin O'Neill coached Jackson
in Indiana suggested Jackson's a better fit than Mayo, Fred Mitchell
and David Kaplan reported at the Chicago Tribune:
"Jackson is a better shooter and probably is a better fit alongside
Rose," O'Neill said. "Mayo is more of a slasher and wants the ball in
his hands to take it to the basket, which takes the ball out of Rose's
hands. (That's why) Jackson is probably a better complement to Rose."
Jackson's a great fit in a vacuum. Mayo's about as good a shooter as Jackson, despite exaggerations to the contrary, but Jackson's a supreme defender with the size to play the two and the three, whereas Mayo is a combo guard. Jackson's size creates more mismatches to get better looks and serves better to the catch n' shoot, off-ball basket cut game a SG in this system needs.
Shooting guards with height like the Bogans (6-foot-5), Brewer (6-foot-7), and Kyle Korver (6-for-7) fit Coach Tom Thibodeau's scheme of help defense that rotates heavily off of screens. Mayo's size creates too many mismatches to be exploited in Thibs' defense.
In the real world of NBA
salary rules, he's making almost $8.5 million this season and the
earlier Sun-Times article makes the great case that Jackson doesn't fit
well on the financial end:
For instance, let's say the Bulls were to
complete a deal for Jackson, the Charlotte Bobcats' 6-8 swingman. He
certainly is the kind of three-point shooter who could take pressure off
of Rose, but Jackson, 32, would be headed for retirement just about the
time Rose and others are peaking.
Then there are the salary-cap implications.
Jackson, who is making $8.45 million this season, has two years and
$19.2 million left on his contract after this season.
Under the cap rules, making that kind of
financial commitment to a 32-year-old player wouldn't be a wise
investment and would result in a huge luxury-tax bill for the last two
years of Jackson's contract.
But if the owners are successful in reducing
player compensation and instituting more of a hard cap in the next
collective-bargaining agreement that will be hammered out before next
season, trading for Jackson would be a disastrous deal that could lead
to a fire sale like the Blackhawks experienced over the summer.
The current cap rules require including Korver or Brewer in the trade for Jackson with Bogans or Taj Gibson or James Johnson. Also, the recent coaching change from Larry Brown to Paul Silas in Charlotte has ignited a lot of comfort in the Bobcat personnel, led by Captain Jack. They're in the playoff hunt, despite their 13-19 record and might make a trade for this year instead of long-term interests focused around youth and untapped potential.
The article adds that O.J. Mayo has an expiring contract and it'll be expensive to re-sign him. Even though Mayo would be a manageable trade in the vacuum of the cap rules with his ~$4.5 million salary, I argued in the post on possible SG upgrades, the price would be so high to re-sign him that what it would cost to trade him wouldn't be worth renting him for the remainder of this season or paying such a huge chunk of the finite payroll to a fourth scoring option.
Basically, Mayo would likely cost Taj to replace Zach Randolph in the starting lineup next season with James Johnson and a first round draft pick. Add in that the Timberwolves can be riskier with a bigger deal and the Bulls bargaining power diminshes very fast. A sign-and-trade could work, but Mayo's camp knows he could get more on the open market than to what dollar amount to which the Bulls would agree.
Let it be known that I'm a fan of Mayo and a huge fan of Captain Jack. Both would be great assets for any team to have and Jackson would look great in this system. As a whole, trading for either stifles the team financial flexibility or costs so much that such moves would be steps backward for the team. Remember, the Grizzlies and Bobcats know what they have and neither guy is getting stolen from them in a lop-sided deal that doesn't favor them.