The Bulls have signed Vladimir Radmanovic to a one year deal at the league minimum while expecting to get an offer sheet from Houston on Omer Asik Friday or Saturday which I presently don’t expect them to match, but they’ve been fairly tight lipped about. Rumor has it the Bulls are one of the few teams on Darko’s list, and a signing of Dark would likely signal that Asik is gone.
What to make of Radmanovic?
The Bulls have 3-4 vet min spots to fill on the roster depending on whether or not they keep Asik. Regardless of that number, Valdimir Radmanovic fits in pretty nicely as a minimum salary guy. He gives Chicago a stretch four who can knock down three pointers though it’s worth noting that he’s become a stretch four because he’s no longer athletic enough to defend the three more so than because he can actually play PF.
Either way, he’s effectively replacing the Scalabrine role on the team. With Rose out, the Bulls may need to go deep enough into their bench to use the whole thing. Radmanovic probably isn’t a stud, but I do believe he can contribute, and I do believe he fills a specific niche the Bulls need filled.
No one signed at this point at the league minimum is likely to excite us too much, and Radmanovic is no exception. That said, when you understand that even if the Bulls pursue someone else with their trade exception they’d still need to fill in a few vet min spots, I really like the signing of Radmanovic as a 5th big man / swing man / shooter. Let’s just hope the other signings fit more in with what we need.
Omer Asik signs offer sheet with Houston
The Rockets beat the Bulls up in summer league and then signed Omer Asik to an offer sheet on the same day. Apologies for not quoting the who, but someone tweeted me “The Bulls are stupid if they match and cheap if they don’t”. It’s hard to argue with that logic.
After letting go the rest of the bench mob in order to save money, it’s hard to see the logic in matching Asik and jacking up your hope of cap space in 2014. Yes, the Bulls could potentially trade his expiring contract that year, but they almost certainly can’t trade it without taking money back.
Expiring deals are only valuable when you want to ADD salary not when you want to subtract it immediately.
I’m not sure the Bulls will really pursue a cap space plan that season, but they have one by coincidence right now, and there’s no reason to ruin it just to keep Asik. Also, given how conservative the Bulls have been with salary has sent a clear signal that this team is scared of a hefty tax bill.
While I hate that, blame them for it, and will write my 3-4 articles a year proclaiming how Jerry Reinsdorf loves the Bulls like a work acquaintance while loving the White Sox like they were his twin brother, it is what it is. The Bulls will not derail the profit train in order to maximize wins. Tax will be paid when that tax seems likely to return more profit. Tax will not be paid when that tax incrementally improves the chances of winning but doesn’t create more revenue.
We all know it. We all hate it. We can’t change it. We might as well plan for it.
So given that the Bulls are taking that approach, Omer Asik simply isn’t worth the money to us. I said at the deadline last season that this was likely the case. The Bulls can’t pay Omer to be their back up center nearly as much as some other team could pay him to be their starting center.
My problem with Omer is that the Bulls had a real opportunity to get something of significant value for him last trade deadline while they should have known in advance they didn’t have the heart to match an 8 million per year offer on him [which really shouldn’t be viewed as exceptionally high], and now they’re stuck between a contract they really can’t afford and letting a player go for nothing.
While they’ve put themselves in that bad spot, given their finances, the lesser of the two evils is to let Omer walk and appear cheap rather than to pay him and watch Taj Gibson walk next season.
Clarification on the cap
I wrote up something the other day on the Bulls cap, and while I corrected it, I know many people don’t read the corrections. I had a number of errors, but in short the Bulls are paying the luxury tax this season unless they do something radical.
There were several errors I had:
1: Roster minimum is 13
I read a section about active roster spots, but didn’t read a follow up section that also noted you are required to have at least one inactive roster spot for a minimum of 13 total spots. This adds an extra 854k to the cap total.
2: Vet minimum almost always counts as 854k.
I thought the Bulls could lower the vet min deals by signing rookie free agents, however, rookie free agents at the minimum still count as the two year salary on the cap unless you draft them. Any rookie free agents the Bulls sign would be free agent rookies, since they had no second rounders. As such, no matter who the Bulls sign at the minimum it will be a cap hit of 854k.
3: I said Patrick Beverly would be a rookie, he actually would count as a sophomore as he was on the Heat roster in 2010. (who knew!) This doesn’t really change the cap, but I wanted to make sure the correction was noted again in case any of Beverly’s family was reading the blog and really offended.
Bulls lowering tax bill, likely don’t need to worry about repeater tax
I’ve seen a sentiment among fans that the Bulls need to get under the tax this off-season in order to avoid the repeater tax. Once they cut all this salary, there’s little reason to pay any tax this season.
As noted above, it will be awfully difficult to avoid the tax. The Bulls have two potential solutions to this problem that I can think of.
First, they can try to trade Hamilton for a 3.5 million dollar contract. Perhaps some team out there has a guy they don’t want at 3.5 million for a couple years, and the Bulls make that swap and take the hit next year to avoid the tax this year. I’m not sure that’s a good move though, because they could be pushed deeper into the tax next year.
The second option is to not sign Hinrich or try and convince him to sign for three years start at 1.5-6 million instead of two years starting at three million. Either of those moves would destroy what little credibility they have left as an organization with free agents, but I suppose if you want to get sketchy enough, they could promise him a front office job later.
Option #1 is highly unlikely. Option #2 has an infinitesimal chance of happening.
In other words, the Bulls are paying the tax.
Next, the fear of the repeater tax is overstated. In order to pay repeater tax, your team must pay the luxury tax in three of any four seasons. The Bulls did not pay last season, so they are in the clear there. They’ll likely pay this season and next season, but the following season they’ll be more than max contract room under the cap if they amnesty Boozer.
That means it’s impossible for them to pay the tax that season since once under the cap, they won’t be able to exceed it. Since they’ll end up with a salary that year around the salary cap [likely up to 62 million or so at this point with the luxury tax likely sitting around 75 million], they’d need to add about 13 million in salary the following year in order to pay the tax in year four.
The only player looking for an extension at that point will be Jimmy Butler and otherwise, Chicago will only add salary via raises given out to existing players [capped at 7.5%], and their use or non use of the MLE / BAE. Even keeping Butler and using the MLE probably wouldn’t push the Bulls over the cap threshold that season, and the Bulls could trivially just restrict their use of the MLE or not sign Butler if they needed to avoid it.
In other words, no need to worry about a repeater offense given the Bulls present structure.