NBA Trade Rumors: Chicago Bulls Must Find a Taker for Richard Hamilton

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2012

MEMPHIS, TN - APRIL 21:  O.J. Mayo #32 of the  Memphis Grizzlies dribbles the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers during the NBA game at FedExForum on April 21, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Bulls desperately need a shooting guard, but Richard Hamilton isn't that guy anymore. He's a quality role player on a contending team, but Chicago will need a player capable of taking the offense's reins next season (at least until Derrick Rose is back).

According to Chicago Tribune reporter K.C. Johnson, the Bulls are trying to relieve Hamilton of his services in the Windy City.

Along these lines, league sources said the Bulls have shopped Richard Hamilton’s expiring $5 million deal, which carries a mere $1 million guarantee for 2013-14. Thus far, there have been no takers.

This news comes on the heels of another potential deal Johnson alludes to earlier in his report. The Bulls are in the process of shipping Kyle Korver to Atlanta in the three-team deal that also includes the Minnesota Timberwolves. Johnson says the move would net Chicago a draft pick and a trade exception. It would also relieve them of $500,000.

In Hamilton's case I can't blame other NBA teams for avoiding his contract, and his age, but Chicago needs to push the envelope. Hamilton averaged 13 points in 28 games for the Bulls last season, but he can't be relied upon to shoulder the scoring load.

The offloading of Korver's contract coupled with moving Hamilton would free up the space Chicago needs to pursue more valuable assets.

Free-agent guard O.J. Mayo is one of those better options. Johnson speaks to that possibility in his Chicago Tribune report.

His transaction is on hold as the Bulls sort through their other various maneuverings, which on Saturday included Yahoo Sports! first reporting O.J. Mayo is considering the Bulls, Lakers, Suns and Mavericks as his free-agent finalists.

The "other move" is Korver's potential departure and possible signing of Kirk Hinrich according to Johnson. Hinrich is a much cheaper option than Mayo, and that's all Chicago will be able to afford if Hamilton remains with the team, but they need more.

Mayo provides a dynamic scoring punch, and we may not know his full potential yet. He was used as a "super starter" in Memphis and could benefit from the chance to play in the limelight. The Bulls are an excellent team, and he fills their biggest need.

Hamilton is a fine player, but he can't do what Chicago really needs right now. He's more suited to be a bench scorer. Chicago needs a starting scorer.

Trading Hamilton would free up the necessary space to sign Mayo. Mayo would give them a solid running mate for Rose when he returns and a capable scorer to hold down the fort in Rose's absence.

Maybe Chicago won't find a taker for Hamilton, but it shouldn't be for lack of trying.