Bulls open to trading first round draft picks to keep salary space

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bulls are maneuvering to give Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah help, and that could mean sacrificing two first round picks to keep as much cap space open as possible.

The Chicago Bulls have put their two first round picks on the trading block, according to the Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson, and thus added another slice of evidence that they want as much cap space available to make roster changes via trade or free agency.

Chicago owns the 16th and 19th picks. While there are plenty of solid options in a deep draft this year, the team could save nearly $3 million in salaries by moving both selections.

Carmelo Anthony is widely regarded as the Bulls' main free agency target once July hits, but Johnson reported Saturday that the team and the Magic were in discussions that would send shooting guard Arron Afflalo from Orlando to Chicago. Anthony will be looking at max contract money, while Afflalo will be paid $7.5 million in 2014-15 and $7.75 million the next season if he picks up a player option.

While overhauling the pieces around Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah with proven veterans like Afflalo and Anthony makes sense with Rose's health a worry and Noah aging, there's a lot of financial reasoning behind Chicago's willingness to trade away somewhat valuable draft picks.

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