This trade rumor is a couple of days old now. It's been going around that the Bulls and Celtics might be discussing a deal for Ray Allen and his 19+ million dollar expiring contract. The names being suggested for the Bulls to send to the Celtics are Kirk Hinrich and John Salmons.
If I'm the Bulls I do it. I've read assertions that they'll be better (because Ray Allen is a big two guard who can shoot the lights out) and that they'll be worse (because Ray Allen can't defend as well as Hinrich and can't back up the point - he can pretty much play only one position at this point in his career, and his age is catching up with him this year).
But I suppose that does not matter in the end. This Bulls team is not a championship team. The regret I'd have with dealing Hinrich is that I think he could be an important part of a championship team, as a third combo guard. But I wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice him for that sort of cap space. Hinrich is, I believe, signed through 2012, and his yearly dollar amount decreases (instead of increasing) each year. Salmons has an opt-out for next summer which the Bulls probably hope he exercises, but, with the way he's playing this year, he's likely to elect to take the 6 million and stay with the Bulls. I'm sure they'd need to include some cap filler, maybe Jerome James, to get to where Allen is, salary-wise, but it does clear several million dollars that otherwise won't be going anywhere, and would likely allow the Bulls to pursue two quality free agents.
The question is why the Celtics would do this. Do they really feel that Allen's skills are dimishing so much that they need to get rid of him right now? And why not just keep him and not resign him? I don't know what the impact of the Celtics simply letting him go would be but it probably would not give them the full 19 million like it would the Bulls, since they have to match salaries in order to make the deal. And if they're going for it this year (as I'm sure they are), do they feel that Hinrich (or Salmons) provide something valuable that Allen can't provide at this point? Defense (in Hinrich's case)?
It's an interesting rumor, and if I were the Bulls GM and this is seriously on the table, I think I'd be doing it.