We are now sixteen days away from the trade deadline. So far, the Bulls have already made one move trading Aaron Gray for Devin Brown. But without question Gar Foreman is on the phones as we speak trying to dump Kirk Hinrich’s $9 million guaranteed for next year on to some other poor sucker. Who might this sucker be?
Well there appears to be two front-runners. First, the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers were talking to the Bulls about trading Sasha Vujacic and Adam Morrison’s expiring contract to the Bulls for Kirk Hinrich. I can see why the Lakers would want Hinrich. There are some tough point guards in the Eastern Conference, i.e. Rajon Rondo/Mo Williams, that need to be defended at a level that Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown cannot really provide. Hinrich offers the handle and defense that the Lakers surely find appealing. However, why they would want to take on another $17 million over the next two years is beyond me. I don’t see Hinrich’s value as being high enough to take on that amount of money, especially when you’re already the favorite to win the title without him.
Contender #2 appears to be none other than the Boston Celtics. Apparently, at least according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics have initiated trade proposals for Ray Allen. Allen has a $20 million expiring contract, which obviously is attractive to any team looking to clear cap space and acquire a player that will help their cause this year simultaneously. In the Boston Herald today, Danny Ainge laughed at the idea of trading Allen.
“Let me just put it this way: We’re doing everything we can to win a championship now. We’re not going to do anything that might hurt our chances of winning. There’s no question we need to play better, but we’re not going to panic.”
I believe “perplexed” was the word used to describe Ainge’s reaction to the rumors. I mean it makes sense that he would be “perplexed.” Allen has stated in public that he hopes to re-sign with the Celtics after his contract expires this year. Allen is an honorable guy who’s not likely to go back on his word. But the question is, how bad do the Celtics really want to re-sign Allen? I think not bad enough. His age is starting to get the best of him. He’s playing on bum knees. No way he can play defense at this point in his career. So isn’t it time to start to transition into life without Ray Allen? Here’s why Kirk Hinrich can help with that transition. Boston has always been notoriously thin at point guard. Last year they had to bring in Stephon Marbury from exile just so that they could give Rajon Rondo some extra minutes on the bench. They brought in Marquis Daniels in the offseason to help them at this position, but he got hurt pretty much immediately and still hasn’t returned. That put the kibosh on that plan. So then they brought in Boston’s “Director of Player Development”, Tyronn Lue. Lue has started to practice and dress for some games just so Eddie House doesn’t have to pretend to play point guard when Rondo needs to sit. Honestly, they don’t have anyone behind Rondo at all. So who’s the perfect backup point guard? None other than Kirk Hinrich. If Rondo is tired or gets hurt…don’t sweat it. Kirk Hinrich can fill in honorably in Rondo’s absence if need be. He’s the type of player you want playing just enough for defensive purposes and his ability to run an offense and handle the ball, but not too much because of his poor shooting…he definitely can play that role in Boston. Plus, he’s young enough and durable enough to the point where you know he’ll be able to play for you. He makes the team younger, but not too young. Plus his play matches the identity of the Celtics…DEFENSE.
So what’s holding Boston back?
Obviously the extra $17 mill they’d have to take on over the next two years. And the fact that Ray Allen is a much much much much better shooter than Kirk Hinrich and was one of the big three who helped them win their championship two years ago. But his numbers this year are way down to 15.6 per game…5 below his career average. He’s not the player he once was. That’s not to say come playoff time he won’t turn it on the way he did against the Bulls in the first round last year. But right now, Allen for Hinrich does not seem so lopsided.
Can you imagine Ray Allen on the Bulls? He has everything we need. Another scoring option, but most of all, someone to take the three when we need one. We’d no longer have to resort to a drive-and-kick to Brad Miller. Ray Allen is a guy who can knock down a three with his eyes closed. And what have the Bulls been missing this entire season? A three-point shooter. Perhaps the greatest three-point shooter ever. The Celtics, however, have plenty of them a la Eddie House, Paul Pierce, Rasheed Wallace. Both teams are getting something they badly need…a backup point guard who plays defense and a deadly three-point shooter.
But can you imagine Kirk on the Celtics? UGH. Playing with his nemesis Rondo and the hated Kevin Garnett? I cringe at the thought. But if the Celtics are willing to do it, I don’t think the Bulls would have a choice but to accept. The cap space is too important. Obviously Kirk doesn’t want to leave, or so he told the Tribune. Especially with the way the Bulls are currently playing.
“I would prefer to stay here. “It’s a good situation. We have good guys. We’re playing well. It’s fun right now.”
And obviously, the Bulls would prefer not to trade him. The organization has loved the man since he’s been drafted and they see him as the “glue guy” of the team. Plus the fans appreciate him as well, at least I know I do. But it’s a business, right? And if getting rid of Hinrich is going to help us potentially sign Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, then I’ll allow it. They key is for Danny Ainge to stop pretending like it’s a bad idea. Good luck dealing with Danny, Gar.