On Saturday, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reported
on a three-team deal between the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons
and Minnesota Timberwolves. As constructed, it would send the No. 2 and 8
picks to the Cavaliers, who would send the latter pick to Minnesota for
the No. 2 pick.
Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams in year two of
the post-LeBron James rebuilding phase? The Cavaliers will take that.
Although this deal may be a long ways away.
But the inclusion of
Richard Hamilton, who would go to Cleveland in the proposed deal, may
open up another potential option for the Bulls this offseason.
The Bulls’ season came to an abrupt end after a five-game defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat. While their future is bright, they know work needs to be done if they want to compete with the Heat for next year and years to come.
An immediate position to upgrade at is shooting guard. With respect to Keith Bogans, Ronnie Brewer and Kyle Korver, each have their flaws and it’s tough to win with either on the floor late in games.
The Bulls found that out the hard way.
Bogans doesn’t represent the threat offensively you’d want on the court with Derrick Rose. Brewer is probably the Bulls’ best defender from the two guard position, but has an inconsistent jumper. And Korver showed in the postseason exactly what he was in the regular-season: A streaky shooter and terrible defender.
Hamilton might not be the answer. In fact, with Jason Richardson, Jamal Crawford and Arron Afflalo, among others, as upcoming free agents this summer, Hamilton may not even be in the Bulls’ top three.
But the Collective Bargaining Agreement is a question-mark. If Richardson and Crawford demand more than the Bulls can offer and Afflalo is kept by the Denver Nuggets, which is likely, the Bulls have to form a backup plan. That could come via trade, as a popular name has been Memphis Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo, but his postseason play (11 points per game on 41 percent from three) has definitely made him much more expensive than when the Bulls inquired on the former third overall pick midseason.
It’s going to be an interesting time with the potential lockout looming and several free agents on the market to fill the Bulls’ need. Yes, Richardson, Crawford, Afflalo and Mayo are ahead of Hamilton in the pecking order, but if they aren’t available, the Bulls could certainly turn to Hamilton.
Hamilton was rumored to have interest in playing in Chicago or Boston if he was bought out this season. But it didn’t happen as he and the Pistons never agreed on a buyout.
And the Bulls don’t want to touch his contract — $25 million over the next two seasons — in any potential trade. The only way he ends up in Chicago is if he’s bought out.
Hamilton, 33, would give the Bulls size (6-7), though he isn’t the player he once was, as he shot just 42 percent from the field the past two seasons (45 percent career shooting percentage).
Durability is also a concern with Hamilton, who’s missed 63 games the past two seasons.
But it’s safe to say he’s a better option than Bogans, can shoot better than Brewer and is a better defender than Korver, though the latter might not say much.
There are better options out there, there’s no question. Although with the question-mark that is the CBA, Hamilton could emerge as the Bulls’ sole option to upgrade at shooting guard.
Update: No, nothing new on the Hamilton-to-the-Bulls talks. But it should go without saying, the Bulls won’t be able to offer anything but a mid-level exception to Hamilton if he is bought out. The way Hamilton played this season, averaging 14 points in 55 games, he’ll probably take that to play with a championship contender.