Not long after I turned in a story for the print edition discussing the possibility of a three-way trade between the Bulls, Rockets and Kings, the deal apparently went through without the Bulls involved.
Multiple sources reported Houston agreed to send Tracy McGrady and his massive expiring contract to Sacramento for shooting guard Kevin Martin. It’s as good as done, considering Martin sat out the second half of the Kings’ loss at Golden State on Wednesday night and spoke to the Sacramento Bee about the deal.
There are other pieces involved. Most notably, forward Carl Landry goes to the Kings and guard Sergio Rodriguez moves to Houston.
The question now is whether Sacramento will hang on to McGrady or trade him again before the deadline hits at 2 p.m. Central time.
The Bulls are still intent on trading Kirk Hinrich and opening even more cap room for the summer. That’s their top priority in the final hours before the deadline.
Since the Kings saved money by trading Martin, maybe they’d be interested in Hinrich, who could be a nice veteran mentor to rookie guard Tyreke Evans. A couple of combinations would work – Hinrich, Brad Miller and Jannero Pargo, or Hinrich, Tyrus Thomas, Jerome James and Pargo.
One report suggested McGrady to the Knicks is still a possibility. Apparently, the Knicks and Houston couldn’t agree on the proper compensation for taking Jared Jeffries off New York’s hands. The Rockets were looking for rookie Jordan Hill and two future first-round picks. What the Kings would want from the Knicks is anyone’s guess.
It should be good news for the Bulls that a straight Houston-New York deal is dead, because it doesn’t seem as likely now that the Knicks can open up enough cap room to chase two top-level free agents.
MILWAUKEE STILL A MYSTERY
It’s probably safe to say John Salmons is headed to Milwaukee. The trade makes sense for the Bucks because they’re in playoff contention and shooting guard Michael Redd is out for the year with an injury.
Milwaukee has four expiring contracts available and any combination of two players would work in this deal.
Early reports had the Bulls receiving veteran big men Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson from the Bucks. Later in the night, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that power forward Hakim Warrick and seldom-used small forward Joe Alexander were headed to the Bulls.
It’s also possible the players are yet to be determined. It’s my understanding the Bulls want the big men as replacements if they end up dealing Brad Miller. Warrick didn’t play at all against Houston on Wednesday, but Kurt Thomas did. Miller had 21 and 10 against the Knicks, by the way.
If Tyrus Thomas isn’t part of a bigger deal, it’s starting to seem likely he’ll be sent to New York (with Jerome James) for Al Harrington. Warrick then heads to the Bulls as the new athletic power forward.
Moving Salmons should give the Bulls around $20 million in cap room this summer. Management is determined to get that number closer to $30 million by dealing Hinrich. Trading Thomas is a lower priority, since his departure won't create any extra cap space.
The Bulls were hoping that if Cleveland made a significant acquisition, it might encourage the Lakers to follow suit and grab Hinrich for expiring contracts. The Cavs laid off Amare Stoudemire, but did get Antawn Jamison from Washington on Wednesday, so we’ll see what happens.