David Lee to the Bulls?
If he does not sign a one-year deal with the Knicks, they will try and work out a sign-and-trade. Lee is looking for $7-10 million for multiple years while the Knicks want something shorter and cheaper.
The Bulls would look to trade PG Kirk Hinrich, who is owed $27 million over the next three seasons. With the emergence of Derrick Rose and the signing of Jannero Pargo, it makes Hinrich an overpaid backup.
Instead, New York should look into acquiring F Tyrus Thomas because of his versatility and contract. He is in the last year of his rookie contract, which pays him $4.7 million next season.
The Knicks should also push the Bulls to take Jared Jeffries in return. He is under contract for the next two seasons and will free up more cap space for next season.
Thomas was selected fourth overall in the 2006 NBA Draft. The Bulls had the rights to the Knicks' second overall pick that year because of the Eddy Curry trade. New York could have drafted Lemarcus Aldridge, Thomas, Brandon Roy, or Rudy Gay (all selected in the top eight).
In his third season, Thomas set career highs in points (10.8), rebounds (6.4), steals (1.1), and blocks (1.9). He would provide the Knicks with a defensive presence as he blocked 2.9 shots per game against the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs last season.
Thomas is expendable because the Bulls drafted two big men in the 2009 NBA Draft. James Johnson is 6″8″ and Taj Gibson is 6″9″. Both rookies have a similar game and build to Thomas while Lee would provide the Bulls with rebounding and hustle. He would form an intriguing combo with F/C Joakim Noah.
Thomas will be turning 23 years old in August and will be looking for big money after next season, but his athleticism would be a good fit in New York. His jump shot has improved, and he has the upside to become a very good pro.
However, the Knicks should not do any deal that brings back Hinrich.
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