At first glance this looks like a better trade than it is. Jerome
James is not an expiring contract this year - he has a player option
for 2010 - so it does not free up money to resign BG.
Kmart, DC and I could only come up with these reasons for this
virtually pointless trade:
-1- Gets the Bull a much needed backup PF (now that we traded Noc and Gooden). Thomas can pick up 12-15 minutes per game behind TT.
-2- Turns one expiring contract into two. Pretty much doesn't matter if
the Bull are going to let the contracts expire - rather than move them
- which would keep cap space in 2010 to sign Bosh. It also saves the
Bull about $.5M in cap space - "The trade is a wash financially for both teams. Hughes makes $12.8 million this year; James and Thomas make $12.2 million combined."
-3- It is a "thanks for sitting quietly at the end of the bench for a
couple months" trade for Larry Hughes.
Kmart also found some info about the Jerome James contract insurance /
injury retirement relief ... Supposedly we can apply one year from the
date of the injury - which is next January. His contract would then
come off the books for the entire season.
Trade grades -
Miller / Salmons -
"Chicago: This is an outstanding deal for the Bulls, who dump one bad contract in Nocioni and get a big boost for the playoff run with Salmons and Miller. Of course, the Bulls were hoping to strike richer with their combination of Drew Gooden's expiring contract and the $5 million exception from the Joe Smith trade, but once Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire were off the table this was the next best option.
The moves set the Bulls up for a nice free-agent run in 2010, especially if Salmons opts out of his contract that year. And since Chicago is enough of a major league city to be a free-agent lure despite its blustery weather, the Bulls stand a decent chance of ending up with Bosh or Stoudemire via that route a year and a half down the road.
In the short term it helps too. In Miller, the Bulls get a physical interior player who can shoot and pass, and one who may be rejuvenated by playing on a better team. He should be an excellent complement to the Bulls' more athletic but less skilled combo of Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah. Certainly he's better than Aaron Gray.
As for Salmons, he's quietly become among the most productive two-way wing players in the league and should supplant Larry Hughes and Thabo Sefolosha in Chicago's guard rotation. If the Bulls' discussions to move Kirk Hinrich pan out, it seems Salmons' role will be nearly as large in Chicago as it was in Sacramento. Certainly he's a major upgrade over Nocioni, who had taken to hoisting wild shots, and could put the Bulls over the top in their quest for a playoff berth.
However, if I'm wrong and the Bulls can't carve out playing time for Salmons, there could be trouble. The one negative about Salmons is his reputation as a me-first guy who gripes if he's not getting lots of minutes and shots. Grade: A-minus"
Getting rid of Hughes' corpse -
"Chicago: Once I recovered from the shock of the Bulls reacquiring Thomas, I realized it was a pretty good move by Chicago to create some wiggle room beneath the luxury tax for next year and unload an unhappy camper.
Thomas replaces much of what they lost by trading Andres Nocioni -- as a 4 who can space the floor, he should get plenty of opportunity in the Bulls' system. They'll hope and pray that James qualifies for some kind of medical retirement that allows him to be stricken from the cap, because he's not going to help them on the court. Grade: B-"