Bulls Trade Rumors: Chicago Would Be Wise to Deal Richard Hamilton

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IFebruary 20, 2013

Nov. 14, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago Bulls guard Richard Hamilton (32) warms up prior to the game against the Phoenix Suns at the US Airways Center.  The Bulls defeated the Suns 112-106 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls are willing to move Richard Hamilton before the Feb. 21 trade deadline, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

It's a no-brainer of a move.

At 35 years old, Hamilton is not the same player he once was. He's declined athletically and he's shooting 43.5 percent from the floor this season. That's not to say he can't be a productive player, but the days of him being an All-Star, or even a standout starter, are over. He's much better suited in a bench role now, similar to Ray Allen with the Miami Heat.

But that's not even the main reason the Bulls should move Hamilton. If they move him, they can get below the dreaded luxury-tax threshold for the summer. Given the new collective bargaining agreement, harsher penalties will be handed down to teams in luxury tax trouble moving forward.

Right now, Hamilton ranks seventh on the Bulls in minutes per game (22.8). That's even behind Marco Belinelli at shooting guard. While Belinelli's minutes have risen (he averaged 15.3 minutes in November), Hamilton's have fallen (27.2 minutes per game in November).

It's not worth keeping Hamilton at this point. He needs to become a luxury-tax casualty. It will help the Bulls in the future, as soon as this summer. The NBA is a business, and the new CBA naturally makes Hamilton an expendable piece.

Leading up to the trade deadline this season, you will likely see more moves of this nature (moving excess) and fewer blockbusters. Nobody wants to take on a lot of money headed into a new era predicated by the CBA. You're likely to see deals involving lesser names before the trade deadline and moves involving bigger names come free agency.

NBA teams need to adapt to the new changes. Dealing Hamilton is the right move for the Bulls.


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