Kings acquire Rudy Gay, what about Deng? Boozer?

Kings acquire Rudy Gay, what about Deng?  Boozer?

The Sacramento Kings acquired Rudy Gay in what looks like a fairly bizarre deal on the surface. The Kings, whom aren’t really going anywhere, made a win now move for a player who won’t actually help them win.

Meanwhile, the Raptors unloaded Gay’s contract just a year after acquiring him. Given the Raptors really didn’t give up much to acquire Gay, unloading him doesn’t look so bad as a change of direction move. However, you have to wonder what the Kings are thinking. Here’s how the finances break down.

Team Player 2013/14 2014/15
Kings Rudy Gay 17,888,932 19,317,326
Kings Quincy Acy 788,872 915,243 (ng)
Kings Aaron Gray 2,690,875
Total 21,368,679 19,317,326
Raptors Greivis Vasquez 2,150,188
Raptors John Salmons 7,583,000 7,000,000 (ng)
Raptors Patrick Patterson 3105301
Raptors Chuck Hayes 5,722,500 5,958,750
Total 18,560,989 5,958,750

Interestingly, the Kings are taking back more money this season as well as getting hosed in salary next season. I wonder if the Raptors had to send three million in cash to cover some extra salary. If I were the Kings, I’d demand it. Of course, if I were the Kings I’d laugh at this trade offer.

However, getting past the two teams Bulls fans don’t really care about, the real question is what does this say about setting the trade market in terms of value?

I would have put Rudy Gay’s value at similar to Carlos Boozer’s. Probably even worse. He was owed quite a bit more money next season than Boozer, he plays a less valuable position, and his efficiency is even worse. I was shocked the Raptors were able to unload him.

I would have put Deng’s value considerably higher than Gay’s, though I can see why a team like the Kings would prefer Gay to Boozer because he’s locked in for one additional year rather than viewing that as a negative [at least if you like Rudy Gay for some reason you might think the extra season is a positive].

The trade gives me some indication the Bulls could unload Boozer for expiring contracts. A move which might indicate they intend to keep Luol Deng around on a new contract. Contrary to popular opinion, the Bulls can’t generate notable cap room even if they let Deng walk and amnesty Boozer. However, they’ll likely look to move under the repeater tax and need to move at least one of them to do so.

Moving Deng is easy (simply do nothing and he’s gone next season) while moving Boozer would seem more challenging. The Bulls could amnesty him, but they’d still likely be on the hook for at least 10 million of his actual salary next season which offsets that cash savings.

The fact that a team like the Kings were willing to trade for Gay reminds me that idiocy still exists in the GM ranks around the league, and the Chicago Bulls need to search it out and send our unwanted players there.

In a perfect world, the Bulls trade Deng for a 2014 mid round first and a little bit of salary relief, dump Boozer for expirings, and move Hinrich to a team with a trade exception for a 2nd round pick. Not only would they maximize their odds of a good draft pick this season without losing any assets that will be around in the future, but they’d also have a shot at getting under the luxury tax meaning they could pay later without a repeater penalty.

I expect the Bulls to take the more conservative route and keep everyone around and hope for a playoff run. I know Derrick Rose’s comments will excite some hope of such a run for the fans, but quite frankly, Rose was playing pretty damn poorly when he got hurt. Even if he returned in April, the Bulls aren’t going anywhere behind him unless he returned radically better than he was when injured which seems incredibly unlikely.

In the end, all we can do is wait. More trade opportunities will open up on Dec 15th when players signed this season become eligible for trades.


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  • First, I agree that the Bulls should move Boozer, Deng, and Hinrich to get under the tax this season and to load up for the draft.

    Second, I doubt the FO will do this, and the true reason escapes me. I suspect they feel that keeping Deng for $12 million +/- per year is a good idea. They get seduced by the good games he has, but they overlook how often he has been out at critical times and how substandard his play has been in the playoffs -- multiple times.

  • In the end I think all the Bulls FO will do is sit around and wait. I do think they could trade all three guys two of which are likely gone next season anyway and Boozer who will be gone the following year. What does it hurt to move them now? Nothing other than some delusional hope of making the playoffs and Rose coming back and making a run. It's not happening Rose isn't a fast healer and even if he does come back he was playing crappy anyway.

    I will really be disappointed if we don't move Deng by the deadline. It is just such a waste to let a guy walk for no return when at the very least you should be able to net a future first rounder. They made their choice this offseason to not resign him so now that they are done they should move him.

  • In less than a year on the job, Toronto GM Masai Ujiri unloaded both Andrea Bargnani and Rudy Gay, two players thought to be very difficult to trade due to their massive salaries.

    What does that tell us about the Bulls front office? Perhaps they've never seriously tried to trade either Deng or Boozer. That would coincide with what I believe are the front offices 'financial plans' for this roster. Let both Deng (2014) and Boozer (2015) come off the books without trade or amnesty, sign Mirotic (2014), and not much else besides drafting the picks they have and very minor fill-in-the-gaps free agent activity.

    I described in detail a week ago that Bulls are not Repeater Tax eligible under any possible scenario in 2014-15 (because Bulls only paid Luxury Tax in the two previous seasons).

    And though likely eligible for Repeater Tax in 2015-16 (assuming Bulls paid Luxury Tax in the three previous seasons) can easily avoid that Repeater Tax eligibility by staying under the Luxury Tax threshold - which Boozer's contract being off the books (along with Deng's a year earlier) and a little frugality will accomplish.

    See Salary Cap expert Larry Coon's website for detailed language:

  • In reply to Edward:

    I still think that you are not interpreting the repreater tax properly. The tax is calculated and applied after the season is over and applies to the season just completed. At the end of the 2014-15 season if the Bulls are tax payers they will have been in the tax for 3 straight seasons. 2014-15 is the first season that the repeater tax will apply. It applies to any team that has paid the tax in 3 of the past 4 seasons, so it should apply to the Bulls at the end of the 2014-15 season if they are tax payers in that year.

    You seem to be applying the rules on a go forward basis, when they are on a current year or go backward basis. As fans it would be nice to have some clarity on this issue, maybe someone could ask GarPax if they know.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I think Edward's interpretation is correct, Larry Coon has said that to pay the repeater in 2014/15 you have to had paid the tax in 11/12, 12/13 and 13/14. See first question here:

    If you want the meaning of previous clarified clarified your best bet is to ask @LarryCoon on twitter.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Hi BigWay,
    Your example of paying Luxury Tax (LT) in 3 straight seasons (2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15) makes a team eligible for Repeater Tax (RT) in the following year 2015-16.

    But being eligible doesn't mean a team automatically pays RT. A team must still exceed the LT threshold in the following season (2015-16) to actually pay the RT. And conversely, an eligible team can avoid the RT by simply staying under the LT threshold in that following season (2015-16).

    Which means it is not necessary to amnesty Boozer to avoid the RT. Boozer's contract running its course and expiring will allow Bulls to stay under the LT threshold in 2015-16.

  • Great work as always, Doug.

    One thing I find funny, it's been maybe 2 years tops since a majority of Bulls fans were convinced that Gay was the better player than Deng, even with the much higher salary. Why?

    Because Gay "can create his own shot".

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    It doesn't really help Gay that he can create his own shot, if he bricks it most of the time.

  • I have always figured it would be impossible to move Boozer or Deng and although I still think it's really difficult, you see what Toronto is doing and this is the big leagues, you need to get it done. I don't think there's some big conspiracy or money play when there's a much simpler explanation available: The FO just aren't that good at their jobs. Make a deal, guys, prove me wrong.

  • In reply to Roman F:

    You may just be correct about that, Roman. The strange thing is, they do draft pretty well, so talent evaluation on that end is OK. But when it comes to FAs and hanging onto their own players, they have repeatedly overvalued them! Seems very inconsistent.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    They didn't overvalue James Johnson (traded for Mirotic pick)

    or Thabo Sefolosha (traded for Taj)
    or Tyrus Thomas (Charlotte pick)
    or Ben Gordon (let walk as FA)

    coming off their rookie deals. With the way Gordon has been so overpaid per production the last few years, and how the Pistons had to thrown in a 1st-round pick just to save one year of salary when they dumped him for an expiring, it seems like he valued them just right- and totally robbed 2 teams so far in trades (and Charlotte is about to be the 3rd, no matter what he get for Tyrus).

    Of all the other Pax and GarPax picks: they signed to extensions Hinrich, Deng, Noah, Gibson, and Rose. All except Gibson have been at the least All-Defense at least once, all but he and Hinrich All-Stars. And Hinrich played on a National Team. They all seem like pretty good choices to resign.

    It seems to me as if they almost perfectly valued each of their draft picks once they were Bulls. Kept the really good players, traded the bums- let the guy in between walk.

    Paxson signed-and-traded Eddy Curry to draft Noah, and the #21 overall pick the next year to draft Deng. HeThey have made so many good moves over the years, people totally forget about them (apparently).

    The free agents they haven't overvalued: Ben Gordon, Omer Asik (when they left), Nate Robinson, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer, CJ Watson, Marco Belinelli (when they signed them). Hinrich and MDJ even signed here for less than they were offered elsewhere.

    Even Boozer wasn't paid more than he could have gotten elsewhere, though in hindsight David Lee almost certainly would have been the better choice. Ben Wallace helped us get back to the 2nd round, and once he became a distraction Paxson dumped his ass, eventually turning that trade and another into Miller and Salmons.

    If these weren't the free agents they overvalued that you were talking about, can you please name them, I'm drawing a blank. Thanks.

  • In reply to Don Ellis:

    Don, glad to help out.

    Certainly the Bulls overvalued, and hence overpaid, for Ben Wallace and Carlos Boozer. Worse, those signings may well have prevented the trades for other more valuable players. The Boozer one is still complicating FO decisions.

    Deng was overpaid when they resigned him the first time. Now it looks like it may happen again. Noah was also overpaid. BTW, the fact that these two later were worth their salary, if they were, does not mean that they were not overpaid when they resigned.

    Then there were Hamilton and Hinrich, neither of whom earned their salaries. They did, however, prevent the signing of someone like Mayo who could have been a bigger help to Chicago.

    Personally, I would also include the Rose resigning as overpaying, and I thought that before his injury streak began. Just because the league said, "OK, you can pay this one player, the MVP, an extra $3 million per year," did not require the Bulls to do it.

    I believed psychology was involved in overpaying Wallace and Boozer, and also in the resigning of Noah and Rose. These were not pure business decisions, nor were they based on solid evaluation of talent. Which proves that it can be extremely challenging for a FO to remain objective in these matters. And for us fans, as well.

  • Tend to agree with Roman. Toronto unloaded these contracts and will be in the 2014 draft lottery to try to rebuild under an improved financial situation.

    Ainge pulls off deals. The Garnett and Allen deal set them up for a half decade run. The Perk deal was not so great, but Perk was probably a bit over-rated anyway so not terrible. The, unloaded the old guys to NJ a couple months ago could turn out to be legendary if NJ continues to suck. Atlanta could get this year's pick, but NJ has no hope unless free agents want to go there. It's a matter of time before Kidd and Frank are gone. (Players sided with Kidd, so the logical move the Frank won't work...)

    GarPax have been involved with Kobe and Garnett rumors back in the day. Howard and LeBron may have sniffed Chicago. But, nothing ever gets done. Kudos to drafting well and running a top-notch organization with a great coach. However, Bulls need to swing for the fences, which includes getting into the draft lotto this year and moving any current pieces that they have for future assets. This includes moving some of these aging guys who won't be around in 2-3 years.

    You can't keep Boozer, Deng and Noah. Two of them need to be gone. Perhaps Deng is resigned at $11 mil/year for 4 years and you dump Boozer (or amnesty) and trade Noah, who has the greatest trade value.

  • In reply to Granby:

    We're on the same page. We agree the FO does some things well, I'm not saying they're an overall bad FO, in fact I think they're easily top-10 and probably top-5. But they have their limitations and weaknesses and it's frustrating when you see other teams pull things off while our FO stands pat. They can never seem to swing the big deal. The Garnett deal that Ainge made was a buddy-buddy deal that no one can really explain but still, you'd like to see the Bulls making one of those deals for a change instead of offering more for Garnett but being rejected.

  • I'm not a big believer in trade value volatility based on play. Player value rises & falls relative to the cba in force, individual & team financial concerns, & injury more than court performance. Apply that to Luol Deng. He's always been respected around the league but overvalued to the Bulls front office. Now that Deng's playing some of the best ball of his career (and Dunleavy's playing some of his worst) that's unlikely to change.

    Moving Boozer for junk is one thing. Ditto Hinrich. But the Bulls will (& I believe should) expect a proven player in return for Lu.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    unless they actually decided to tank.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    Maybe. The object isn't to clear salary, tank, get a lotto pick, and rebuild. That's the usual model. It's to tank, get a high pick, and then immediately go back to the championship chase. That's much harder. How do you do that? Bench your all-stars? Send Noah to D-league? You can't just send out your best five and tell them to throw games. There are league rules against that. It'd be a scandal. Doesn't tanking sour Mirotic? It's really really difficult to commit your entire organization to blowing one season when you expect to go deep in the playoffs the next.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    Agreed. Many people don't seem to be grasping what a fine line the FO will be walking this season. To get that higher lotto pick by 'tanking', the Bulls would almost certainly have to part will Deng, Boozer, and maybe Noah. But by parting with those players in hopes of a better pick in the draft, it is quite possible that the Bulls do NOT immediately go back to championship contention in the next season or two. Who is to say the draft pick(s) pans out? Who is to say the Bulls won't continue their misfortune of injuries in the future years? Who is to say Mirotic comes over and plays to the potential we all see?

    This is why I don't see the Bulls pulling any MAJOR moves this season, especially not this early in the season. Just too risky for the FO when the current roster still realistically will make the playoffs and sell tickets (aka Bulls playing it safe when it comes to business decisions, big surprise there huh?).

    For what its worth, I personally think trading Deng and amnestying/trading Boozer is the best move, but I can see where the FO is coming from if no major moves are made this year (yet again).

  • In reply to Motoman:

    Most people don't seem to recognize what a fine line the Bulls FO is walking yet you essentially agree with what most people are advocating. Tank, by gettting rid of the guys who will not be here next year anyway now(Hinrich, Boozer and Deng) so that we can get the best possible draft pick in 2014 and assure that we bring over Mirotic for next season.

    No one is suggesting getting rid of long term assets(Noah, Taj and Bulter) unless they are part of a much bigger deal bringing back quality assets.

    The only real debate is whether or not you believe that Deng is part of the Bulls future, or whether they do.

  • In reply to BigWay:

    I should have been more clear. Im not saying the FO shouldn't explore shipping out players that aren't in their future plans, rather that as a fan, I understand that some of the decisions they have to make are must easier said than done.

  • In reply to Redwhitenblack:

    You are not taking into account the fact that Deng is an unrestricted free agent (UFA). That basically means Bulls have no rights or claims to Deng (other than the next few months). This lowers his trade value considerably.

  • There's been a lot of talk about moving Deng. But if I had to make a bet on whether or not Deng is gone or resigned, I would bet on the latter. In fact I see the Bulls as so conservative I wouldn't be surprised to see them not amnesty Boozer and wait one more season to sign Mirotic. Meaning the Bulls will look basically the same next season. It's not that I see the Bulls as incompetent, it's just that I believe their goals are somewhat different than most fans. Both want to win a championship, but fans are much more willing to make moves that risk the floor (by which I mean 50+ wins and the second round of the playoffs). I don't doubt the Bulls want to win a championship, but not at the expense missing the playoffs.

  • For the right salary and with the right playmakers around him, I like Deng - maybe more than Noah. Deng's a professional and does just about everything well except he's not that dynamic offensively.

    He may age fairly well given that his game is not built on athleticism, but more size and positioning. He's "only" 29 in April 2014 and outside of the thumb he's held up decently the last few years. He's only missed a handful of games since the '09-'10 season.

  • In reply to Granby:

    Deng also had the wrist injury, for which many felt he should have had surgery, and that messed up his game.

    Then he was out of the playoffs with the meningitis last year.

    More important, what year has Deng been great throughout the playoffs? Once, back when Skiles was the coach in Chicago!

    I like Deng too, "for the right salary." That is not $12 million per year. Maybe $8 million, but he is not resigning for that.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Deng did not have meningitis last year, he missed the playoffs because somehow the medical professionals nearly killed him by botching an illadvised yet fairly simple and common procedure, a spinal tap.

  • In reply to rustyw:

    Right, forgot about the wrist... was thinking of wrist when I said thumb.

    Yes, that botched spinal tap was not his fault.

    To my knowledge, Deng has not produced big in the playoffs. But, he has been decent, I think, when healthy.

    I think the Bulls are banking on Deng getting a low deal base on the new CBA and the fact that he's barely an all-star with below the rim ability. Who in their right mind would offer him $12 mil/year? Maybe $10 mil? I think the Bulls look solid if they can keep Deng for market value and it's far less than his current $14 mil deal. I seriously think we should consider moving Noah if his trade value is greatest and the Bulls can tank and get the Kansas center, Embiid.

  • In reply to Granby:

    I agree Deng has value at some price. I would put it at about $8 million, but if I recall correctly, Doug does not even like that resigning.

    Of course, the botched spinal tap was not Deng's fault.

    Were the two knee injuries Rose's "fault"? Watching the replays, I was amazed he tore a ligament either time.

    Nevertheless, when these things happen repeatedly, they are not just one fluke occurrence. Overpaying guys who are frequently out, especially during the playoffs, is a recipe for mediocrity! Not only will these guys not bring a championship, they prevent acquiring the guys who might. Do we just want the playoffs each year?

  • fb_avatar

    I really enjoy reading your insight on the Chicago Bulls whether here or on RealGM. You are one of the rare ones armed with figures and an objective opinion about the team.
    Keep up the good work.

  • In reply to Michael Cunningham:

    Good point, Michael. I used to read Sam, but he is just so out of touch and in the bag for anything MJ, Rose and the Bulls. Just too much of a homer and when you raise opposing views he makes it sound like you are an idiot. Deng untouchable? Noah? really?

  • It's been several years since the Bulls made a trade at the deadline, the last time they got Salmons and Brad Miller which helped them make the playoffs. I do see the Bulls making a small trade, probably along the lines of a package deal of Teague+Dunleavy for a point guard/combo guard.

  • GarPax and the ringleader Reinsdorf is behind the non movements for this Bulls roster. It's too frustrating to keep wondering what those ass hats are going to do with the third largest marketable team in the NBA. But Sacramento and Toronto can pull off big deals to make their teams either better or get the roster ready for the draft, the Bulls FO proving every week they don't have the team's or fans best interest.

  • With the exception of LeBron to Miami (and maybe Shaq to L.A.) what big-splash F.A. signing has ever led to a championship?

    We want our F.O. to do *something* about our current situation, but maybe making a championship basketball team takes time and development, more than pushing paper around.

  • Trade Deng? Trade Noah? When all we need is a player or two to be right where we need to be. We are 2 good players away to be in the real deal--we just need to add to this team and not throw in the towel--are you guys Pacer or Heat fans? Wow, trade a team that has won over 50 games--no way guys. If we can give Snell, Butler, and maybe even Teague a fighting chance to get experience to see what we already have while Rose it out--we may have all we really need--Already! So, I like keeping pieces that can get the job done--as opposed to gambling on getting rookies in a draft that may or may not get us to a championship game in 3 or 4 years from now. We have a window now that's still open. We still need a backup big man and maybe a trade for Boozer that gives us a steady young big man to replace him and a solid shooting guard. And on December 25 maybe we can still trade Hinrich and Dunleavy for a younger and experienced point guard. Give Murphy a chance to have the Dunleavy role--maybe he can learn to defend better than Dunleavy. This is an opportunity for the coach to do some on the job training with his bench--he can train them for the roles we need rather than letting them sit.

  • In reply to penwit1:

    What? You had me until you mention trading Boozer for anything of material value. Then, Murphy taking Dunleavy's role and learning to defend adequately. Seriously? Have you see Murphy play?! All he can do is shoot and foul out in about 10 minutes.

    No offense, but you need to be realistic!

  • In reply to Granby:

    penwit 1 says the Bulls are 2 good players away from being the "real deal." I agree if at least one of those 2 becomes a star. But that is the trick, isn't it? How do the Bulls get those 2 players?

    Most likely through the draft. But while Allstars do occasionally come out of the 2nd round, it's rare. Landing a lottery pick gives the Bulls a much better shot at a future elite player. Losing a ton of games this season may be the best chance at that for a long time.

    I agree, the Bulls need to play Snell and Teague a bunch to develop them -- if that is possible. Or to trade them if they don't progress. It is beginning to look like the FO/coaches have figured that one out.

    Boozer will bring nothing in a trade, his contract is just too expensive. So I agree with you on that, Granby.

    BTW, I would not mind seeing the Bulls acquire Shumpert from NY in a trade. I could see Deng for Shumpert and pieces. That would get a young talent and help lose some games! That might be as good as trading Deng for a pick.

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