Salmons, Hinrich trade talk

In Marc Stein’s latest trade deadline column, he discusses potential new homes for Sacramento’s John Salmons and Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich.

San Antonio, meanwhile, is in the hunt as well, pursuing Salmons — with an offer of Bruce Bowen and Ime Udoka — as a far more affordable trade target for its perimeter rotation than Vince Carter. New Jersey’s Carter has tempted the small-market Spurs for days but can be absorbed by them only in a hugely expensive and complicated deal.

There is another complication for interested parties: Sources revealed Tuesday that Salmons has a 15 percent trade kicker in his contract that would require the team that acquires him to pay him a bonus of nearly $2 million and add that figure to its payroll. Salmons otherwise would rank as one of the league’s better bargains, earning just $5.1 million this season while averaging 18.3 points and shooting 47.2 percent from the field and 41.8 percent on 3-pointers.

Salmons is playing heavy minutes this season and isn’t the same player coming off the bench, so if the Spurs were to acquire him, it would behoove them to insert him in their starting lineup. This might be a tough pill to swallow for a franchise that is all about chemistry and players knowing their role. If the Spurs can find a way to add Salmons without losing Roger Mason or George Hill, it would be a pretty nice move. Salmons can start, but he may not finish if Gregg Popovich goes with Mason and Manu Ginobili in crunch time.

Minnesota, according to NBA front-office sources, has strong interest in Hinrich and is pursuing the 28-year-old to address a void at lead guard that hasn’t been filled by Randy Foye (whose success this season came after a shift to shooting guard) or the undependable Sebastian Telfair.

The Wolves also have two expiring contracts of their own (Jason Collins and Rashad McCants) that they’re prepared to shed.

Wow, it’s interesting sometimes to see how far a guy’s stock has fallen. Kirk Hinrich has a very affordable contract — $26.5 million over the next three seasons — but an injury got him off to a slow start this season and he isn’t shooting the ball particularly well, so the Bulls may be willing to trade him to Minnesota for cap relief. Derrick Rose is the future at point guard and the move would allow them to re-sign Ben Gordon (though that ship has probably already sailed).

Hinrich could provide solid leadership in Minnesota. Prior to this year, he has averaged at least 6.0 assists for five consecutive seasons, and if the T-Wolves feel that Foye is really an off guard, then Hinrich should be a nice complement. With a core of Hinrich, Foye, Al Jefferson and Mike Miller (if Minny keeps him), the Timberwolves could be competitive.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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