While it's easy to be disappointed in this trade at first because it didn't involve anyone named Amare, the Bull made a clear upgrade Wednesday afternoon. Apparently, there was some deep deep fan love for Noc, as all I have heard from casual fans is what a travesty this trade is and how John Paxson is sabotaging the team. To the casual fan Nocioni was a hard working, all heart player who gave 110% every time he stepped on the court. I've always loved having Teen Wolf on our team - - until last offseason.
The game within the game of basketball is against the salary cap. When Pax, gave Noc $7-8 million a year to come off the bench as a 6th or 7th man through 2010, it was a bad signing. This worsened when Noc (29) showed up this season with all the heart and hustle of the past, but clearly a step or two slower - - which now appears to be the downside of his career.
When you sign players to bad contracts in the NBA, most of the time it forces you to make bad front office decisions - - like taking bad contracts back. (or forcing you to let Ben Gordon walk for nothing).
The Bulls were fortunate to not have to take any bad contracts back in this deal. Brad Miller a more than serviceable center (when healthy) is off the books after next season, and John Salmons is a versatile 2/3 that can backup Luol/Ben and at $5-6 mil per is a very moveable contract. Unfortunately, it appears that unless the Bulls find a way to move Kirk or Larry Hughes today - - Ben Gordon is likely gone. While this is disappointing, the trade gives the team a clear upgrade to the front court, and exonerates them from Noc's near immovable contract.
Lastly - - assuming we don't trade Hughes or Miller we can let a combined $26 million walk off the books before the biggest free agency in the history of the NBA. An all-around win for team Paxdorf.