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Bulls Trade Salmons for Expiring Contracts

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Feb 18, 2010 4:40PM

With the greatest free agent class of all time available this summer, the Bulls are actively trying to amass as much room under the salary cap with which to lure the likes of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh to Chicago. As today's 2 p.m. trading deadline looms, rumors have linked just about every player on the roster not named Derrick Rose to potential deals. But it's John Salmons who is the first to be sent packing in return for the coveted expiring contracts. Salmons goes to the Milwaukee Bucks in return for Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson Hakkim Warrick and Joe Alexander.

Salmons came to the Bulls a year ago in a deadline deal, when the team acquired him and Brad Miller in return for Andres Nocioni and Drew Gooden. While Salmons provided an offensive spark after the loss of Ben Gordon to free agency last summer, Bulls management was concerned by his player option for next season and its potential impact on the cap.

As the final hours tick away before teams can no longer make trades, we expect a few more Bulls to depart and be replaced with players whose biggest benefits to to the team will be when their contracts come off the books this summer. Houston's Tracy McGrady and his $22.5 million expiring contract has been linked to rumors that have him coming to Chicago in return for Miller, Tyrus Thomas and Kirk Hinrich. Because the Rockets aren't particularly interested in Hinrich a third team might need to enter the picture to complete a 3-way deal. Thomas has also been linked to talks with the New York Knicks, who would send Al Harrington to the Bulls in return for the enigmatic power forward and Jerome James. We've read of deals that would bring Bosh to the Bulls now in return for Luol Deng and Joakin Noah. We continue to hear whispers of the Lakers interest in Hinrich. And the Bulls had said they'd try to honor Janerro Pargo's request for a trade to a team where he'd see more playing time -- although the Bulls' trade of Salmons for two front court players might make that a moot point.

With maximizing salary cap room seemingly the sole consideration for Bulls management and their deadline wheeling and dealing, let's hope that they don't experience the same free agency disappointment as they did in 2000, when their inability to lure a top tier talent to town set back their post-MJ rebuilding plans.