Update 2/18 10:17 am: Reports are now saying that there is some flux on whether the Bulls want Kurt Thomas or Hakim Warrick in combination with Elson. Warrick’s contract is for only $3 million expiring as opposed to Thomas’ $3.8 million expiring. Same basic structure, just a different role and a bit less money.
2/17 9:15 pm: Yahoo! Sports is reporting the Bulls have completed a trade with the Milwaukee Bucks for Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson.
The Bulls have been concerned with Salmons’ $5.8 million player option for next season, when they’re trying to clear as much space as possible. By dishing Salmons, the Bulls save some money this season and clear more space for this summer. They’re now looking at $36 million in salary locked up for next season, meaning they’ll be about $17 million under the cap after draft picks are signed.
It also represents a pretty significant capitulation on the part of the Bulls. The Bulls are currently in the eighth spot, but that’s an offensive weapon, limited it may be, that they just traded to the team in the 9th spot. And this team has almost no offensive weapons. There’s no intent to play either Thomas or Elson, these are both expiring contracts brought in specifically to clear space.
For the Bucks, it’s a no-lose. After Michael Redd went down, they needed a 2/3 that could score, and Salmons will probably help in that department. If he opts out, great, more cap-space. If not, he’s a movable expiring they can use to build on what they do this summer.
This move likely symbolizes the end of the Tracy-McGrady-to-Bulls idea. With Salmons gone, the Bulls probably were unable to find a suitor for Kirk Hinrich’s expensive services. Bulls fans will have little else to look forward to other than the hope of July.
Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports wrote a few weeks ago about the Kings coaching search:
Kevin McHale is steadily gaining internal support, league sources told The Vertical. If Cousins truly is the future, the Kings have to hire a coach he will buy into, and McHale, a respected voice and one of the game’s all-time great post players, certainly seems like a good fit.
They won’t get him, of course
McHale indeed emerged as a candidate, and though it took him a little longer than other prominent former head coaches, McHale also came to the conclusion Mannix foresaw,
Marc Stein of ESPN:
This is part of the reason Sacramento talking to everybody. The Kings don’t know whom they can get.
An owner who has changed course too often in Vivek Ranadive, a general manager with too little experience in Vlade Divac, a top player who repeatedly feuds with coaches in DeMarcus Cousins – who’d want this job? Probably not someone who could get one of the NBA’s other 29 head-coaching gigs, and that might apply to McHale.
Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News:
Frank Vogel is still twisting in the wind, but it seems unlikely the Pacers keep him.
There’d definitely be something intriguing about former Celtics teammates Larry Bird and Kevin McHale teaming up in Indiana. McHale’s experience with the Rockets could help him install an up-tempo offense, too.
The Cavaliers were making so many 3-pointers, they didn’t need a lucky bounce.
But they got one, anyway.
Mo Williams‘ pass to Richard Jefferson bounced of Mike Muscala‘s head – right to Iman Shumpert for a 3-pointer.
Kenny “The Jet” Smith is the next Steve Kerr?
I’m with you, I don’t see that either. But apparently in the Houston Rockets’ broad search for a new coach — we know it will not be J.B. Bickerstaff — owner Leslie Alexander would consider Smith, a member of the Rockets’ championship teams in the 1990s. From Marc Stein of ESPN.
Sources tell ESPN.com that TNT’s Kenny Smith, who like (Sam) Cassell is a former Rockets player, could also land an interview. Rockets owner Leslie Alexander remains close to many players from the team’s highly successful Clutch City era, which delivered two championships, and holds them in high esteem.
As seen in the video above, Charles Barkley asked Smith about it on Inside the NBA Wednesday and Smith tap danced around the question, saying “anything basketball is me.”
The Rockets need a defensive-minded coach and someone who can help guide and build a good locker room culture, two things that held the Rockets back this season. Someone who can get the respect of James Harden and get him to do things such as show up to training camp in shape.
That’s what makes Jeff Van Gundy an interesting fit, same with Frank Vogel if he is let go by the Indiana Pacers as it more and more seems like he will be. Both of them have experience doing what the Rockets need. Can The Jet coach? Who knows. But with Harden in his prime and some other quality role players on the roster (Trevor Ariza, Patrick Beverley, Clint Capella, and the list goes on) why gamble on the unknown?
The Chicago Bulls are trying to find their identity. They used to be a defensive team, but they went and got an offensive coach in Fred Hoiberg and by the end of the season had slid badly on that end of the floor. They are no longer Derrick Rose‘s team. They didn’t have the personnel to run Hoiberg’s system. The Bulls need to figure out who they are, then decide which players on the roster should be part of the team moving forward.
Expect Jimmy Butler to be part of that future. He’s the best player on the team, but he rubs some teammates the wrong way, and there have been rumors the Bulls would listen to trade offers.
That got teams calling to test the waters, but the Bulls are telling those teams they plan to hold on to Butler, reports A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.
A league source tells CSNNE.com that the Bulls, while still open to listening to offers for Butler, are telling teams that are inquiring about his availability that their plan for now is to keep him in the fold.
And while there was some thought that a top-3 pick coupled with a few decent players might be enough to entice the Bulls to pull the trigger on a deal to trade Butler, CSNNE.com has been told such an offer would have to include at least one “legitimate, NBA starter” for the Bulls to even possibly consider trading him.
“And that might be a stretch,” the source indicated.
What is the hardest part of assembling a potential NBA title contender? Finding the elite, cornerstone player you need who can lead your team at both ends of the floor. The Chicago Bulls have that in Butler, and he’s locked up until at least the summer of 2019 on a good contract (a max contract before the TV deal money kicked in; there is a player option for a fifth season reaching into 2020). Why would they trade him?
Stranger things have happened, especially with the Bulls, but unless they want to tear it all down and rebuild — and they don’t — getting rid of Butler doesn’t make sense.
The better question is who will be around Butler come next fall? =