Although Hamilton is not the player he once was, he could still be the player Chicago believed he was when they signed him last year as a title contender.
Hamilton was supposed to be the missing piece. After one year, it appears he was not.
Although we will never know would could have been if Derrick Rose never injured his knee, Hamilton did play well at the end of the year. He does still have real value to another title contender.
Hamilton’s ability to hit mid-range jumpers and his veteran savvy could be a valuable bench addition to a true contender. Rip can still play above-average defense even if he is not the lockdown defender of old. He would be a veteran presence off the bench and in the locker room come playoffs.
A trade with L.A. would be more complicated, but could be worked out with some effort (one possibility).
A trade with Dallas, however, would be very easy and work out well for both team’s long-term goals.
Should Dallas make a deal with Chicago for Hamilton? [see answer below]
Chicago wants to move Hamilton for a trade exception. Hopefully, that pursuit is part of an overall plan to acquire $10 million in trade exceptions (already obtained a $5 million exception from Atlanta by trading Kyle Korver) to go after a young shooting guard like Memphis‘ unrestricted free agent, O.J. Mayo.
Dallas wants to acquire additional contributors for a championship run this upcoming season while not adding salary beyond next year. The Mavericks want to keep cap space flexibility to go after Dwight Howard after his deal with Orlando expires.
Dallas does not, however, want to roll-over and do nothing this season waiting for Howard’s potential arrival. Enter Hamilton. He would help replace the void left by the departure of Jason Terry and give the Mavericks another solid veteran option off the bench.
Chicago could send Hamilton to Dallas for Corey Brewer’s trade exemption ($3.0 million) and Rudy Fernandez’s trade exception ($2.2 million) or for Tyson Chandler’s trade exception ($4.2 million).
The Mavericks would acquire Hamilton without having to trade players or picks to the Bulls. Mark Cuban would only have to pay Hamilton $6 million guaranteed. He is due $5 million next season and is only owed $1 million for the following year. Dallas could elect to pick up Hamilton’s option for the second year and pay his full $5 million salary or it could cut ties to maintain cap space to go after Howard by only paying the guaranteed $1 million.
Does Hamilton fill an immediate need for Dallas? Yes. Will he help the Maverick’s make another run at a NBA Championship? Yes. Does Rip’s contract fit with Dallas’ long-term plans? Yes.
Now, should Dallas make a deal with Chicago for Hamilton? [You should be thinking yes.]
Chicago would move Hamilton’s contract (and to a Western Conference team nonetheless) and acquire another trade exception in the process. The $5 million trade exceptions for Korver and for Hamilton could be used to trade for a player with up to $12.5 million in salary (125 percent of the outgoing salaries).
In a perfect world, Chicago would agree to terms with Mayo’s camp to a deal worth around $8-10 million per year for four years and then negotiate a sign-and-trade with Memphis using the trade exceptions and some future picks. Memphis would receive a couple of future draft picks to facilitate the acquisition since Chicago does not have cap room to sign Mayo as a straight-up free agent and would need a sign-and-trade arrangement to acquire his services.
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