According to ESPN's Ric Bucher, the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards have agreed in principle to a trade that would send Kirk Hinrich and Chicago's no. 17 pick to Washington. It's not yet clear what the Wizards would be sending to Chicago in return, but the deal centers on Chicago's desire for cap space, which means whatever Washington sends in return will probably be of little consequence.
Per NBA rules, the trade cannot be executed until July 8th, and given the unofficial terms, it's still possible that a deal could fall through before anything's officially consummated.
Nevertheless, if Chicago pulls this off, it would give them significantly more cap room to sign LeBron James, and perhaps another max-salary free agent. From Washington's perspective...
(Taking off journalist hat... Putting on tattered Gilbert Arenas jersey)
What the hell are they thinking?
Let's break this deal down point-by-point.
- Kirk Hinrich, Kinda Shitty. There was a time when Kirk Hinrich looked like a potentially great point guard for a winning team. That time has passed. He's still a good defender, but he's an absolute zero on offense, and his ability to actually play point guard and run a team remains in question. Which makes him a combo guard that can't score, who makes $17 million over the next two years. Like a less-athletic, overpaid Antonio Daniels. DON'T GET TOO EXCITED, GUYS.
- The number 17 pick. I'm all for adding young players to build a foundation around John Wall, but not if it means sacrificing our cap space over the next two years. The Wizards already have picks at the end of the first round and the beginning of the second. It's not like Wall's the only player headed to D.C., regardless of whether they can add more picks. So, basically, we just sacrificed a ton of cap space, added a bad player who will suck up minutes, and we'll get... James Anderson? Hassan Whiteside? Larry Sanders?
- The number 17 pick, continued. Somebody is going to slip to the late-first round, and the Wizards will get lucky at no. 30. I know it. You know why? Because everyone that's currently pegged in the middle of the round should probably go about ten spots later. If you're getting a player like Hassan Whiteside in the late-20s, it's a steal. At 17? He's kind of shitty. Just like Hinrich!
- WHAT HAPPENED TO SHAUN LIVINGSTON? The Wizards don't need more guards coming off the bench, and the Livingston revival was coming along just fine until Thursday afternoon... Now, how can Washington justify keeping him when they've already got Hinrich, Gilbert Arenas, and John Wall rotating at the guard spots?
- Cap Space. Thanks to Hinrich, the Wizards' massive amounts of cap space over the next two summers just took a serious hit. Without pouring over the numbers at the moment, I can't say for sure whether we just forfeited a chance at Carmelo Anthony, but either way... You don't pay Kirk Hinrich $17 million over two years unless you're legally bound to do so.
- Reality Check. The Wizards became a contending team in the East the minute they won the lottery a month ago. That's not hyperbole. Within three years, as long as John Wall stays healthy, we should be able to contend and make the playoffs every year. So, the team had better start acting like it. Instead, we just gave a get-out-of-jail-free pass to Chicago, letting them get rid of Hinrich, and clearing a path for the Bulls to land LeBron James and Chris Bosh. That may not be what happens, but either way, the Wizards shouldn't take the chance. Is Kirk Hinrich + the 17th pick worth it? To risk creating a dynasty in Chicago?
If it happens--and believe me, I'm still in denial--that last point is the biggest takeaway from this trade. The Wizards hit the jackpot with last month's lottery, and it's time to start acting like we belong among the rich folks. It's no longer acceptable to be the rubes in the room. John Wall gave the Wizards a chance to start over and do things the right way.
But... Here we are again, shooting ourselves in the foot, while competitors reap the benefits.