BOSTON - APRIL 28: Kirk Hinrich #12 of the Chicago Bulls directs his teammates against the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on April 28, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Bulls 106-104 in overtime. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Lakers need to upgrade their point guard position, this season ideally and for next season certainly. The Chicago Bulls need to clear out a little more salary space if they want to make a run at Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh this summer.
So the rumor that the Lakers have talked about trading Adam Morrison and Sasha Vujacic to the Bulls for Kirk Hinrich makes some sense. There has been a discussion, but in the NBA (especially a couple weeks out from the trade deadline) a discussion is miles from an actual deal.
That’s not to say there isn’t little bit of logic to this rumor. For Chicago, they have a logjam at the guard position and they are likely to move either Hinrich or John Salmons to free up that cap room they need for the summer.
And the Lakers need to upgrade at point guard. Father time has caught up with Derek Fisher — at 35 he can still hit some big shots, but he hits fewer shots overall (just 37 percent this season) and he is getting burned on defense a lot. The Lakers have locked up the rest of their core for a few years (Kobe will sign an extension this summer), they just need a point guard. Jordan Farmar has said he doesn’t love the Lakers triangle offense, this may be his last season as a Laker.
And, ever since Kobe went on his now-ignored “trade me” rampage a couple years back the Lakers have had interest in Hinrich. He does fit the triangle — he can hit the three point shot, makes smart decisions and defends well. At least he used to do all those things before this season, now at age 30 his game seems to have taken a little step back (he is down to 36% from three and is getting fewer free throws). However, that could be more about the at times chaotic situation of the Bulls backcourt than it is about Hinrich.
The real hurdle for the Lakers is money. Hinrich is due the remainder of us $9.5 million this year, $9 million next season and $8 million in two years (the rare declining salary). That is a lot of money for a guard who would be offensive option number five — especially when you are paying Kobe more than $24 million, Gasol $17 million and Bynum $13 million next season, not to mention healthy contracts for Odom and Artest. The Lakers already have the highest payroll in basketball, owner Jerry Buss is paying a lot of luxury tax and has said he would like to cut payroll.
The Lakers would likely have to give up more than the rumored offer to make this work — like Farmar, Morrison and Vujacic. Then Buss would have to agree to reach deeper into his pocket. That’s a lot of ifs, a lot of players to give up and money to take on. It could work on the court, but may not off it.
And that is why so many rumored trades never work out, likely including this one.