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Talking Trades

http://www.depressedfan.com/img/hinrichandgordon1218.jpgIf you've been following the comments around here, I'm sure you've seen plenty of trade speculation. I admit it, I love doing it, I love reading it. It's fun to wear the GM hat once in a while. Unfortunately, I think for the most part it causes more frustration than anything else. Sometimes, when you take a step back and look at things objectively, it's pretty clear that the scenarios we all come up with are pretty far fetched.

Unfortunately, being die-hard fans of a particular team makes it hard to be objective. With this in mind, I decided to reach out to a couple of experts on the other side of the fence. The goal, to bounce a couple of trade ideas off them and see how they'd feel about them. Obviously, this isn't the same as talking to a team's GM, but taking the pulse of the fans is a good start (and probably as far as we'd ever be able to go.)

After the jump we'll see what a couple of Bulls bloggers thought about my trade proposals.

Here are the two deals I asked about:

  1. Samuel Dalembert (3 years, $34,080,000 remaining on contract) for Kirk Hinrich (4 years, $36,500,000 left on his contract)
  2. Samuel Dalembert (3 years, $34,080,000 remaining) and Willie Green (3 years, $11,046,000 remaining on contract) for Ben Gordon (expiring $6.4M) and Andres Nocioni (4 years, $29,000,000 plus team option for fifth year @ $7,500,000)

My logic: The Bulls need consistency at the center position. They've been using Drew Gooden, who isn't a center, in the position. Off the bench they have Joakim Noah and Aaron Gray. Neither gets the job done. Sammy could give them stability in the middle. The Sixers obviously need a shooter, Hinrich would also provide insurance should the Sixers lose Andre Miller after the season, or if they can move him in a separate deal this season. Dalembert's contract is also shorter than Hinrich's.

The second deal is complicated. This FAQ and ESPN's trade machine both say Ben Gordon would have to OK any trade because he'd be giving up his Bird Rights this summer by changing teams. I can't find the language, so I'm going to have to go with that. I'm not sure this is a total deal-killer, however. If the Sixers shed Sammy's contract and Willie's contract and let Miller walk while taking on Nocioni's deal, the Sixers would be left with a little under $50M against the cap heading into next season. They could start a deal for Gordon at about $10M/year, with annual raises.

The Bird Rights only come into play if the Bulls are willing to go over the cap to sign him, and I'm not sure the Bulls would be willing to go much higher than $10M in the first year.

But I digress. The Bulls would get Dalembert in this second deal plus they'd swap a really bad contract (Nocioni) for a shorter, less awful contract (Green). If, at the end of the season, the Sixers were not able to sign Gordon, they could use that $10M in cap space for another piece. (We'll do a post on this summer's free agent class a little later). So those were my thoughts in coming up with the offers, now let's see what a couple of great Bulls bloggers thought of them.

 Matt from Blog-A-Bull:

I'll say this, if the Sixers were able to acquire Ben Gordon they'd be pretty damned good. There's one thing to need a guy who can hit threes, and getting Gordon, one of the best shooters in the history of the league.

I don't think Gordon accepts a trade to Philly as they couldn't get under the cap enough to sign him in the offseason. I don't see why he would waive his bird rights for that situation.

Now Hinrich for Dalembert...I don't think the Bulls do that one either. they're bumping up against the luxury tax and a straight swap puts them over for this year, and then next year they lose some room to sign Gordon (and if they dealt Hinrich it'd be an even bigger priority). So I'd have to think bigger, some way to also get Hughes or Nocioni off the books as well...

I asked Matt a follow-up question as well: "On the court, do you think Dalembert is a guy they'd be interested in?"

I think any interest in Dalembert would be for salary reasons. They do need any type of competence in the frontcourt, but it seems like Dalembert isn't polished enough (especially on offense) to be someone they'd actually target.

Makes sense. I hadn't thought about the luxury tax threshold. The Bulls must be anxious to get out from under the Hughes and Nocioni contracts, so you have to think they'll try to tack one of those players onto any deal for Gordon or Nocioni.

Rickhouse from Tremendous Upside Potential

I would reject both of these deals if I were the Bulls, though the first one is probably more desirable. Trading Hinrich is fine by me, but the Bulls should be able to do better than Dalembert, who is similar to what Joakim Noah should develop into. The Bulls need a big that can score, and Sammy affects the game more through blocks and rebounds. There is also no rush to deal Hinrich - his value right now is probably as low as it has ever been. Last season was the worst of his career and he got injured so early this season that I can't imagine opposing GMs would be too keen taking back his contract.

Paxson is on record saying he doesn't want to be without both Hinrich and Gordon next season. If the Bulls can find a way to re-sign Gordon (who I think is having a phenomenal year so far) and remain under the luxury tax, Hinrich will eventually get moved. I think Kirk can still be a really valuable player for a different team - I always thought he wasted too much energy on defense guarding opposing shooting guards who Gordon couldn't check - but I hope the Bulls can get more in return for him than Dalembert, who has been awful so far this season, kind of like the rest of 6ers.

The only good thing about the second trade would be getting rid of Nocioni, but it's not worth it if it means dealing Gordon. After reading you bash Willie Green for the last two years too, I want no part him. Nice work there, Brian..

So those were my first two stabs at potential trading partners, and the reaction from two Bulls fans/bloggers. Their concerns about the luxury tax are warranted. If they were to swap Hinrich for Sammy, they'd probably have to go over to keep Gordon next summer, but probably not by that much. If not paying the Luxury Tax is their main goal, they will have to move Hinrich, Gordon or maybe even Hughes, if they can find a taker. After next season, they'll have plenty of cap space, so maybe some spare change thrown in the deal could help grease the wheels.

Ultimately, fans over-value their own players and under-value the other team's. I'm not exception, and Matt and Rickhouse may not be either, but it's good to get the opposing side's perspective. I hadn't even thought of the luxury tax implications. Thanks for taking part, guys.