Bulls send Hinrich, #17 pick to Wizards

Take that, Miami!

Following in the Heat’s footsteps, the Chicago Bulls are trying to clear even more cap space so they can make a run at two big-name free agents on July 1.

The Chicago Bulls have a deal in place that would move Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick to the Washington Wizards, freeing up enough cap space to pursue two maximum-salary players on this summer’s free-agent market, sources with knowledge of the Bulls’ plans said Thursday.

It wasn’t immediately clear what Washington would send to Chicago in the trade.

Since it’s a good-faith deal for the time being, there remains a chance it could fall apart. But according to one source, the Sacramento Kings are prepared to make a similar deal with the Bulls in the Wizards’ stead if that were to happen.

Hinrich is a good defender and is talented enough to be the fourth or fifth best player on a contender, so the Bulls are giving up a good player, even though it’s creating the flexibility to sign two max free agents.

Now the Bulls can go to LeBron James and Chris Bosh and offer to sign them both to max or near-max deals to play with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng.

In order to get this much talent together, a team has to have plenty of cap space (check) and 1-2 budding stars that are still on their rookie contracts (check, check). The only con to playing in Chicago is the long shadow of Michael Jordan. Will LeBron want to play in a city where his legacy has almost no chance of measuring up to that of the greatest player ever to play the game?

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Chad Ford’s Mock 7.0

Chad Ford just released the seventh iteration of his mock draft, and he seems pretty confident in the first eight picks:

1. John Wall, Wizards
2. Evan Turner, Sixers
3. Derrick Favors, Nets
4. Wes Johnson, T-Wolves
5. DeMarcus Cousins, Kings
6. Ekpe Udoh, Warriors
7. Greg Monroe, Pistons
8. Al-Farouq Aminu, Clippers

Barring trades, which are always the toughest to predict, that sequence seems pretty reasonable. Udoh seems to be going a bit high, but Monroe apparently had a bad workout with the Warriors. Some teams place too much emphasis on a one-day workout instead of looking at a player’s overall body of work, but each team has its own method of evaluating prospects.

The mock starts to get dicey around #9 where Ford says that the Jazz have a load of options, but appear to be leaning towards UNC’s Ed Davis.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Source: Nets will draft Favors


Barring a last-minute change in thinking, the New Jersey Nets will select Georgia Tech freshman Derrick Favors over Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson with the No. 3 pick, ESPN.com was told Thursday morning.

According to a source with knowledge of the selection, the Nets made the decision because they are not guaranteed to get a power forward like Utah’s Carlos Boozer, Toronto’s Chris Bosh or Phoenix’s Amare Stoudemire in free agency.

The source said that Favors is also the most tradeable asset available to the Nets for a possible deal — more so than Johnson. The source said the Nets might make a deal Thursday night after selecting Favors or wait to see if one comes in July during the free-agency period. The source said if the Nets make a deal they would have to include the pick of Favors.

This is a bit of a surprise as the Nets had seemingly settled on Wes Johnson because they believed they’d be able to get a good power forward in free agency. Now they’re planning to draft Favors because they’re not sure about getting a good power forward in free agency. Hmm.

The Nets could draft Favors as insurance and move him if they are able to land a good big in July’s free agency period.

Favors has a lot of upside, but hasn’t performed very well in workouts, which has hurt his stock a bit as draft day approaches. He was the 2009 Naismith Prep Player of the Year, which has a pretty good track record of predicting success in the NBA.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

The Heat clear cap space, trade Cook

Take our picks, please!

The Miami Heat have traded their way out of the first round of Thursday’s NBA draft but, in doing so, cleared more cap space by sending the 18th pick and guard Daequan Cook to Oklahoma City for the No. 32 pick in the second round.

The Heat were not enamored with the quality of players in the draft and wanted to clear cap room, a source told ESPN.com. The net result of losing Cook’s $1.36 million salary and the value of the 18th pick is $3 million.

Actually Cook’s salary for next season ($2.2 million) is what Miami is saving with this deal. But that’s not all. The #18 pick would make around $1.4 million — that’s what last year’s #18 pick, Ty Lawson, made this season — so the Heat will save a total of $3.6 million off of this year’s payroll by essentially giving Cook and the pick away.

I believe this leaves Miami with three players (Michael Beasley, James Jones and Mario Chalmers) under contract and $48 million in cap space, assuming the team waives or trades Jones away by the end of June. Miami’s goal is to sign three big-name free agents and with $48 million in cap space, they can afford to start three players at $16 million per season. They’d have to fill out the roster with a mid-level player and veteran minimum guys, but if they were re-sign Dwyane Wade and add two big-name free agents, the vets would come calling.

My gut tells me that LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh will all sign with different teams, but that doesn’t mean that Miami won’t be able to sign a combination of Joe Johnson/Rudy Gay and Amare Stoudemire/Carlos Boozer/David Lee. And they may not even have to burn the full $48 million to do so.

2010 NBA Consensus Mock Draft (6/23)

The mock drafts are coming fast and furious now, so I thought I’d update our consensus mock draft to reflect the latest and greatest predictions from pundits around the web.

As always, click on the table for a larger version.

A few random thoughts:

– There seems to be more stability now at #2, as the leaked image from the Sixers’ website would seem to indicate that Evan Turner is on his way to Philadelphia. There has been some movement at #3-#4, however, as it appears that Derrick Favors isn’t a shoe-in to go #3 to the Nets. Apparently, New Jersey is thinking that they can get a very good power forward in free agency (Bosh, Stoudemire, Boozer, Lee?) and Wes Johnson can help them immediately at small forward.

– Given his production and size, I’d be surprised if DeMarcus Cousins slips past the Kings at #5. If he can get his head on straight, he and Tyreke Evans would be a formidable inside/outside punch.

– Gordon Hayward is supposedly moving up draft boards, but he only appears in the first 14 picks in four of the six mock drafts that I selected. He could go as early as #8 to the Clippers, who need a small forward, and is also a threat to go #9 to the Jazz, #10 to the Pacers and #11 to the Hornets. Really, depending on Rudy Gay and Hedo Turkoglu, Hayward could go anywhere from #8 to #13.

– The Hornets pick #11 and could use a wing who can shoot. It appears that they might be choosing amongst Babbitt, Hayward, Henry and George. George can shoot it and scouts think he has the most upside of this group.

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