NBA Trade Rumors: Chicago Bulls Smart to Shop Rip Hamilton for Cap Space
Rip Hamilton was thought to be the X-factor for the Chicago Bulls when he signed a three-year, $15 million contract in December 2011.
That sentiment is no longer held in the Bulls' front office, and the organization is reportedly shopping (via Chicago Tribune) the 34-year-old shooting guard for cap space.
Tough times have fallen upon the Bulls over these last few months, and it appears that there will be some reworking of the roster in the next couple of weeks.
Chicago isn't exactly being sentimental with these transactions, but it's the right thing to do. The team is going to have a tough season ahead without Derrick Rose for the better part of the year.
They will do well enough with Luol Deng, Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer, but a top seed in the Eastern Conference is far out of reach.
Hamilton was supposed to be the final piece that completed the Bulls' roster, but now that they find themselves in the midst of a remodeling period (it is far from a rebuilding period), there's no reason for the former champion to be kept around.
If the Bulls are able to get Hamilton's $5 million salary off the books in 2012-2013, they could feasibly go after a younger shooting guard to pair with Rose for the next few years.
Of course, Jerry Reinsdorf has never been too keen on paying the luxury tax. However, the Bulls would be able to sign O.J. Mayo, who they are in fact looking at, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears:
It will be hard for the Bulls to beat out the Los Angeles Lakers, but acquiring Mayo would seriously help the Bulls next season.
How many games will the Bulls win next season?
After missing 38 games last season, Hamilton's value lies more in his veteran leadership ability than in his talents on the court. The Bulls are already an extremely cohesive unit with some of the strongest leadership in the league, so Hamilton is hardly needed in that regard.
Mayo's worth is in his outside shooting prowess. He's also the picture of health, missing just 11 games over the last four seasons.
The Bulls need to surround Rose with more young scoring talent. The first step in doing so is to ship the aging members of the roster elsewhere. The second, obviously, is to go out and get younger players.
Chicago is already well on their way to carrying out a youth movement.
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