Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tanking a season???

You will know if Bulls management is dumping salary and trying to tank the season by one indicator - trading Mike Dunleavy.  If they trade Hinrich, it doesn't mean they're tanking.  If they amnesty Boozer at the end of the season, it won't mean they're rebuilding.  The trade of Deng didn't mean they are tanking the season.

There are sound reasons for trading Deng, in my opinion.  The first is that he wasn't going to be resigned next year for more than three years and ten million per year.  That was the Bulls' take-it-or-leave-it offer, according to Deng, and I believe him.  It was a line in the sand, and they had already determined that they weren't willing to cross it.  It wasn't going to be 12 million for 4 years, it wasn't going to be 4 years at 45 or 46 million.  It was 3 years, 10 million per year.  Since they had now determined that they weren't going to exceed that number, and Deng refused it, they decided to part ways now.  Why now instead of at the end of the season?   Because at least they got SOMETHING for him.  A first round pick and two second round picks.  Is it enough for half a season of an all-star small forward?  Probably not, but it's what the league was willing to pay.  And it's something.

And the other thing they got was luxury tax relief.  By waiving Bynum, they put themselves under the luxury tax threshold for this year.  It seems like a given that owner Jerry Reinsdorf will go into luxury tax territory with the payroll, but not for a team that isn't going to contend to win it all, and not for a player who wasn't going to be here next year.  So the team saves money on that end, too.

Trading Hinrich is not a "tank" move either, in my opinion.  There are point guards who can give them some of what Hinrich can give them.  D.J. Augustine is on the team and seems to be fitting in.  He's a backup next year anyway.  If Hinrich can allow them to accumulate assets (draft picks) and cap space, then trading him makes sense for next year.

So why would the trade of Mike Dunleavy signal, for me, salary dump and tanking the season?  Because of these reasons:  First, Dunleavy is not expensive and is signed for two years.  Okay, neither is Hinrich THAT expensive.  So what's the difference if Dunleavy allows them to gain cap space and maybe gets them a young project player or a draft pick?

This is the difference.  Every year the Bulls have to go looking for a three point shooter.  Korver, Bellinelli, and now Dunleavy.  Korver was very good, but so is Dunleavy.  He's a piece they NEED on next year's team.  That's the second, and main, reason why they should keep him, and why trading him would be nothing but dumping salary and tanking this season.

Let me say that again.  Dunleavy is a piece that they NEED on next year's team.  If they get rid of him for draft picks, they will have to go looking to sign someone with his skills next year for probably about the same amount of money.

Now I don't claim to know the ins and outs of the convoluted salary cap in the NBA, but I can't imagine that keeping Dunleavy through his contract would affect their ability to sign someone next year.  The difference between OJ Mayo and LeBron James, for example.  Because that's the kind of difference the Bulls really need.  (Not specifically those players, but that sort of talent gap.)  And I can't imagine that trading him will bring an asset that will be more valuable to next year's team than Dunleavy himself will be, with Rose back.

Keep Mike Dunleavy!


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