I have probably perpetuated some of these myths, but after doing some further information on the Bulls salary cap situation, their flexibility is more limited than I thought. A combination of rules and guarantee dates means the Bulls are a bit more limited in what they can attempt to pull off.
Watson/Brewer need to be waived by July 10th
Per Shamsports, the guarantee date for Watson and Brewer is July 10th. Korver’s guarantee date isn’t listed. I had thought during the moratorium that trades were allowed as long as they weren’t sign and trades. However, this proved out to be incorrect.
The Bulls effectively can not trade Watson or Brewer as salary relief to a team who would then want tow waive them since they need to guarantee them prior to the point they can officially trade them. The Bulls last chance to trade either player in that capacity was on draft night. Something I advocated at the time, but the Bulls either did not find the right trade partner, did not want to take on the salary, or did not like the prospects available.
Chicago could still come up with a trade with Watson/Brewer by guaranteeing them. They’re both on very good contracts for their ability and would represent low risk rental players for any team they go to. However, no team is likely giving up a whole lot to acquire them, so a trade seems unlikely involving them.
Korver’s guarantee date isn’t listed on Shamsports, and my assumption is that he can still be traded as salary relief. Combined with Hamilton’s one year deal, the Bulls can still match a pretty large salary and could guarantee one of Watson/Brewer in order to match more.
Nash lands with the Lakers
The Lakers landed Steve Nash with their trade exception with the help of the Phoenix Suns. The Suns got fairly lucky here in that Nash could have simply left Phoenix for Toronto and left them for nothing, but instead, Phoenix will get two first rounders and two second rounders from the Lakers. That second 1st rounder has some chance of being pretty good in 2015. Who knows how well Kobe and Nash will hold up at that point, Gasol will likely have been gone the year before, and Bynum may or may not be around.
Still, the move was brilliant for the Lakers. L.A. needed something to help put them back over the top, and they added a legitimate all-star to their team. Nash is expected to sell Grant Hill on coming to the Lakers as well. The Lakers could have catapulted their way back into the conversation for the title this year.
If Dwight Howard to the Lakers happens which seems quite a bit more possible with Brooklyn now unlikely [previously thought to be impossible, but more on that later], the Lakers could possibly launch themselves into position as the favorites.
Dwight Howard can still go to the Nets
Reports are that the Nets used the taxpayer MLE on Teletovic and not the non-taxpayer MLE as initially reported. With that difference, the Nets no longer have a hard cap at the 74.3 million tax apron. This puts a Dwight Howard trade possibility back on the table for Brooklyn, but it still leaves it extremely unlikely.
The Nets and Magic would still need to agree on terms while Orlando has flat out said it doesn’t like what New Jersey is offering. On top of that, both Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries would need to agree to S&T deals to Orlando, and as FAs, neither may want to go there anyway.
It still looks like an extremely slim possibility that Howard ends up in Brooklyn, but the possibility still exists.
Eric Gordon agrees to offer sheet with Phoenix
Another thing I was off on was the new S&T rule preventing teams over the tax apron from doing S&Ts starts next season and not this one which means the Bulls could have taken a shot at Eric Gordon.
The Hornets are now looking to consider a S&T with Phoenix after speaking with Gordon to see his interest level in staying with New Orleans. After winning the first pick in the draft, the Hornets have a bit more upside than they did otherwise, and quite frankly, their future may be better than the Suns anyway.
That said, if Gordon wants to leave, New Orleans seems set to let him go. This would be somewhat of a disappointment to me, as the Bulls could have gotten involved if New Orleans was willing to do a S&T. They could send Korver (non guaranteed), Brewer, and Watson to match salary then possibly include a couple draft picks or possibly Taj, Teague, or something else. New Orleans could absorb the BYC difference since they’re under the cap.
Granted, whether the Bulls could send sufficient value to New Orleans to make it a possibility is another question all together, and the answer may simply have been no. However, it would have felt good to see the Bulls involved. We’ve seen plenty of teams significantly ramping up what they can do with the possibility of NJ becoming a superteam still out there, and the Lakers adding an all-star.
The Bulls have some flexibility to make things happen, but we haven’t heard them involved in anything except waiting to see which SG is left after all the bigger deals are gone while pursuing MMLE candidates.
Hoping for Brandon Rush
Given that S&Ts are back on the table, I’m now hoping the Bulls look at doing one for Brandon Rush, a restricted free agent with Golden State. The Warriors have said they’ll match any reasonable offer and would almost certainly match the Bulls offer of the MMLE if Rush couldn’t find something better elsewhere.
That said, they’re still loaded with wing players and don’t particularly need Rush. The Bulls could probably offer up a 2nd rounder or protected 1st rounder in order to land Rush and then use Ronnie Brewer to match salaries and keep C.J. Watson. If the Bulls can’t make a move for a star player [likely at this point], then Rush is my choice as a fallback option.
If the Bulls decide let Omer Asik walk, they could also make a full MLE offer to Rush while keeping Watson and then see if Golden State would match. Personally, I’ll take Brandon Rush over Omer Asik relative to this teams needs right now.