The Chicago Bulls are looking for a shooting guard of the future. The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to make another strong run at this year's NBA championship. The Memphis Grizzlies are looking to keep competitive in the West, keep salaries down and turn departing players into assets.
How are all three of these things related? They are not.
At least not now, that is.
I have outlined my potential 3-team trade that accomplishes all of the goals outlined above and makes all three teams better in the process.
O.J. Mayo and Jordan Hill to the Chicago Bulls, Richard Hamilton and Chicago's future second round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers and two of Chicago's future second round picks to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Memphis re-signs Mayo to three-year deal with team option for the fourth year at around $8-$9 million per year and sends him to Chicago.
Los Angeles re-signs Jordan Hill to three-year deal worth around $3 million per year and sends him to Chicago.
Chicago sends Richard Hamilton and a future second round pick to the Lakers.
Chicago uses the $5 million trade exception it acquired by sending Kyle Korver to Atalanta and the $2 million difference between Hamilton's outgoing contract and Hill's incoming contract to acquire Mayo from Memphis.
Under the CBA, a team over the NBA's salary cap can only trade for player worth 125 percent of the outgoing salaries.
Though this trade, Chicago sends away a $5 million trade exception and a $5 million contract. That means Chicago can take back $12.5 million in combined salaries for Mayo and Hill (think around $9 million for Mayo and $3.5 million for Hill).
To facilitate the three-team trade, Memphis essentially receives something for nothing (Mayo's unrestricted free agent departure will net the Grizzlies nothing without sign-and-trade deal). Memphis uses its unrestricted free agent to acquire two of Chicago's future second round draft picks.
This trade would work out for Memphis because it is able to sign-and-trade Mayo for some value without bringing back any salaries in the process. As an unrestricted free agent, Mayo will leave Memphis and the team will not receive any compensation for his departure.
Under this arrangement, Memphis acquires two future draft picks which are actually a valuable commodity for teams in and near the luxury threshold like Memphis.
The trade would work for Los Angeles because the Lakers are in need of help at the wing positions. Hamilton would arrive in L.A. hungry to compete for a championship. He is owed $5 million next season and the Lakers would only be on the hook for $1 million for the following year if they desire to part ways.
Hamilton would provide the win-now-Lakers (as evidenced by the Nash trade) with another proven veteran to help with Kobe's chase of a sixth NBA championship.
The Lakers would only need to re-sign Hill to make the trade work. Although Hill is thought to be in the Lakers' long-term plans, Hamilton's acquisition is more important because of L.A.'s immediate win-now concern.
The Lakers would be better served attempting to sign a veteran big man like Darko Milicic to a veteran minimum deal now that he has cleared amnesty waivers than planning long-term with Hill. A tandem of Hamilton and Milicic puts L.A. in better championship positing than signing Hill to a long-term deal would.
Chicago would make this trade in a heartbeat, as it has been chasing a starting-caliber shooting guard for since Rose arrived in a Bull uniform. Landing Mayo has always been a dream for Bulls fans and this trade makes that dream a reality.
Mayo could be Robin to Rose's Batman. Then again, he might not be the answer and may never reach the promise he once showed as a rookie finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting behind Rose. I guess there is only one true way to find out.
Make the trade and see what happens.