When news broke late Monday night that the Chicago Bulls had broken up their championship-contending core by trading Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the proverbial blood was in the water almost immediately. Rival executives had been waiting and wondering whether the Bulls would have to go this route, to opt for Plan B because of Derrick Rose's second season-ending injury by finally succumbing to the league's collective bargaining agreement by way of a money-saving deal. And so they did, taking on Andrew Bynum's contract for the right to waive him and sneak under the luxury tax that is so much more punitive than it has been in the past. The Bulls landed three draft picks in the trade as well (a first and two seconds) but the strong message had been sent that the Bulls' shop may finally be open for business. Bulls fans, players and most certainly coach Tom Thibodeau may be in mourning today, as Deng was a fan favorite and this is as tough as NBA decisions come. But this is welcome news for everyone else around the league. So, what's next? We shall see. While forward Carlos Boozer could be waived via the league's amnesty clause during the offseason as yet another way to clear the Bulls' books, it appears point guard Kirk Hinrich will be drawing the most immediate interest when it comes to the Bulls' possible next move. According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the Golden State Warriors are among teams that had been showing serious interest in Hinrich long before the Deng trade. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because trade talks are typically private. Hinrich, the 33-year-old who is making approximately $4 million in the final season of his contract, is averaging 7.8 points, 4.7 assists and 30.7 minutes per game but shooting at a career-low rate from the field (34%) and three-point range (28.6%). In the wake of the Deng trade, the natural question being asked by opposing teams is whether the Bulls will go into full-tank mode as a way to improve their draft standing and how that might impact the trade possibilities.
Could Chicago Bulls be moving more players?
USA Today | Jan 7