Will the Bulls finish the season under the tax?

The Chicago Bulls have exactly one chance to get under the luxury tax this season. They need to trade Rip Hamilton without taking salary back.

They’ve certainly already tried to do that this off-season, but so far, there are no takers. No one wants to pay five million bucks for Hamilton otherwise he’d already be gone. At the trade deadline, it’s possible things will shift some. More than half of Rip’s salary will be paid off at this point, so the team taking him would be taking on less of a burden.

Chicago could cover the remainder of his salary in cash to make it a break even proposition for the opposing team as well which might open up the doors to a team that just wants the guy to play out the season.

According to ShamSports.com, the teams that have Trade Exceptions or cap room (using Hoopsworld’s salaries) large enough to take Hamilton are as follows:
Golden State
Phoenix (cap room)

What would it take for one of those teams to trade for Hamilton? There are two possible scenarios:
1: Hamilton stays healthy and plays well enough to be viewed as an asset to one of those teams and one of those teams is also on the bubble of making or missing the playoffs.

This scenario would be somewhat disturbing, because if Hamilton is playing well enough to help one of them, we probably want him sticking around and helping us.

2: The Bulls give up an asset in order to convince a team to take a chance on him.

This is disturbing, because it’s another profit slap to the face of Bulls fans showing how much more important profit is than winning. Why does a team making as much as the Bulls give up an asset in order to save money? Only because they’re cheap as hell and don’t care about winning.

The only scenario where the Bulls move Hamilton to stay under the tax which isn’t insulting to fans is if it comes to the point where we feel he’s worthless and some other team feels he’s worth 5 million bucks. Seems like a rather farfetched conclusion.

Even if things appeared bleak for the Bulls around the trade deadline, they’d still have to consider that if Derrick Rose gets healthy by the playoffs that they could make a strong push towards the ECF or better if things go their way.

Will management find a method to get under the tax? I don’t think so. I think they finally suck it up and pay it. Even if it’s only a minimal amount. The scenarios that allow them to do otherwise are simply show too much “giving up” attitude to be taken seriously at this point. Not just for the fans, but for the players on the team as well.


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  • Hamilton is owed 1 million next year, and by my calculations at the trade deadline he should only be owed a bit less than 2 million for the current season. You can throw in 3.1 million in cash in trades, which I don't believe the Bulls haven't used yet this year.

    So it's possible that by dumping him for nothing and avoiding the tax that both teams make a profit.

    If my understanding is current and the above scenario is possible, I feel like the chances of Rip being on the team at the end of the year are pretty slim.

  • In reply to Shakes:

    Ugh, double negatives and wrong words through this post ... blarg, past my bedtime. Hopefully people can understand the gist.

  • Doug , this blog has been a brilliant way to describe the varying levels of outrage concerning what has transpired since May.
    The lack of fight , devoid of vision management and overall Wait til year after next promises is nothing but pure game. Actions always speak louder than words and give indication to what will happen next. The Chicago Bulls are an insult to my intelligence and have obliterated their reputation

  • Reputation with media and perception alike. I can only as "YOUBLEWIT" says we need another pro basketball team in Chicago to keep the original one honest .
    The Bulls remind me of the stupid stuff I used to tell girls I took for granted and the gist was this: Im going to get it together and it's going to be greater - later. In the meantime keep giving what you're giving

  • Their lack of commitment to the fanbase has nauseated their die hards and sent negative messages throughout the NBA and sportsfans alike . Whatever you do , do your best, look your best because you're always being watched AND judged .
    Miami Los Angeles

  • And even New Jersey and Houston get it . What if we never lucked up on that 1.7% and gotten Rose ?? We were middle of the pack then with sellouts due to the past. I think sometimes the worst things to happen to fans is to be tantalized and BSed .

  • I could see the first scenario where Hamilton is playing merely OK, but the Bulls aren't in contention. And when Rose returns they want to get a head-start on the Hinrich 2-guard era (LOL)

  • In reply to bullsblogger:

    Who wouldn't want to get a jump on the Hinrich 2 guard era?

  • In reply to DougThonus:

    Hey, at least it's not next to his old drinking buddy Chris Duhon.

    PS: If the Lakers cut Duhon I'm officially scared.

  • I'd be shocked if Hamilton is still a bull come playoff time(for everybody else). I bet that it takes an asset(draft pick) and cash to off him.

    Not 100% sure but I think that the Bulls can still trade him after the season is over but before free agency begins and still get the benefit of his salary reduction for tax purposes.

    This might be the easiest time for the Bulls to get rid of him. Basically, someone could take Rip and cut him, while only costing them $1million(which the Bulls could provide) at that point, while picking up a second round pick for their troubles.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    They can't trade him for tax purposes past the trade deadline, so if he's gone it will be before then.

  • I agree with you guys as I too would be surprised if Rip makes it past the Trade deadline. Also think there is no chance they unload him without a sweetener. Odds he is healthy at the Deadline? Probably slim unless they really limit his playing time leading up to the deadline.

    You guys think second rounder would get it done assuming he is healthy? If he is injured any chance he is moved?

    Also they don't need to worry about being perceived as cheap as hell they already are. Managements lack of vision still bothers me more than the fiscal conservatism. I just wish they had someone who has a vision for the team. Other than Pax's which seems to consist of being perennial one and dones.

  • I'll be the lone voice who is dumb enough to think that he bounces back this year and plays well. He had a tough year, much like Rose, but with a full training camp and days off between games I think he can stay healthy.

  • There's one more scenario that wasn't mentioned that I could absolutely see the Bulls doing...

    Giving up a Draft Pick to whoever takes Rip off our payroll. If this is the case, the list of teams willing to take on Rip for 1 year becomes more appealing.

    Also, by giving up a 1stRounder, the Bulls could be thinking...'this way, we don't have to pay an incoming rookie guaranteed money for the next 3-4 years...we're so smart'.

    So yes, we can all dive deeper in the depression now, haha.

  • this is absolutely sickenning, the Bulls picked up RIP last year only to try and trade him and an asset to a team that will take him to get under the tax??? Just knowing all of the BS that is going on with this management and the CHEAP ASS OWNER!!!... makes me wish I wasnt a Bulls fan at heart. I hate saying this but I really do hope this Bulls team loses and loses badly this season and the season after next. This Bulls owner needs a reality check and SH_T thrown back in his face in the worst way. Im developing some serious hatred for that individual. Now I really do know how Jordan and the core of the Bulls really feel about that owner.

  • The Bulls were not cheap with Hamilton - they shelled out $10 million for 2 years in hopes he would give them enough to take down Miami. If it had worked, the FO would look like geniuses. Since it flopped, the FO looks like dunces.

    Like with Boozer, their bad signings hang around handicapping future signings that might really make a difference.

    It probably would have made more sense to get an SG for $10 million per year, not signed Rip, and traded one of the bench mob to still have the same total salary. But what SG could they have gotten a year ago for the $10 il?

    With the cap, it's not about this season -- it's about down the line. Over-the-cap repeaters are hit harder, so if they plan to go over in 2014, then they are wise not to do so this year. Anyone out there really think that Hamilton gets them to the ECF this season? I didn't think so.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    A few things I disagree with here.

    -How does giving a player a 2-year, $5 million per contract prove they aren't cheap? Especially when they still have avenues out of the tax.
    -We've only had Rip for one year, an injury-plagued, lockout-shortened year at that. I'm not ready to conclusively call it a failure yet. All it may take is one playoff run, or even just one playoff series, where he shows some of his old abilities, for it all to be worth it. You don't just willingly worsen your chances just because the odds are against you. That's basically giving up. You try your best, give yourself the best chance to win (even if it's a small chance) and hope for the best.
    -You can't stop trying to get better just because you don't have the perfect salary structure. Maybe you have a player here or there that's a little overpaid, or a player that you don't want, but that happens. Even the best front offices sometimes make mistakes, so if the standard is ''Don't have any bad contracts and make sure everyone is paid exactly what we feel they're worth or less'', we're screwed.
    -Lastly, on the repeater tax, I don't neccesarily buy that they'll pay the tax at all in 2013-2014. They could just amnesty Boozer, trade Gibson or let him walk, or move Deng or Noah by then. Plus, by then there could be the whole ''2014 capspace'' excuse to justify not adding salary. In any given year, you can always find an excuse to avoid paying the tax if you look hard enough.

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