Post-game Reactions

Warning: Between now and the Feb. 18th trade deadline (also my Mom’s birthday!), you will hear the names Kirk Hinrich and John Salmons mentioned in connection with lots of teams, including Boston.

The Celtics have long been mentioned as a possible destination for Hinrich, which gives them something in common with 28 other teams in the NBA. I’ve long thought Salmons makes more sense for Boston, because of his ability to play both shooting guard and small forward and because his contract expires after next season.

The rumors will only intensify now that the Bulls have acquired shooting guard Devin Brown from the Hornets in exchange for Aaron “The White Flag” Gray. (Yes I coined that nickname for Aaron Gray last season. It is perfect. I challenge you to come up with a better nickname. You can’t, and I’m furious this hasn’t taken off as Gray’s nickname. Please begin referring to him as The White Flag immediately).

Brown is a shooting guard. Aaron Gray is a center. The Bulls now have one more perimeter player than they had before this deal. This has led journalists—yes, real journalists!—to speculate the Bulls bolstered their back court by acquiring Gray Brown so they could turn around and deal either Hinrich or Salmons.

Why would the Bulls want to deal these players? And do the Celtics have the means to get them? 

The simple answers to those questions (which Brian Robb plans to address in-depth soon) are: 1) To get even further under the projected salary cap for 2010-2011; 2) Yes, but, like the relationship between George Clooney and Vera Farmiga in “Up in the Air,” it’s complicated.

Right now, the Bulls have about $37 million in player salary on the books for next season, which puts them about $15 million under the projected salary cap. That’s enough to make them a player for one of the big prizes on the market but nobody beyond that.

Eliminate Kirk Hinrich and his $9 million salary for next season? Or Salmons and his player option (which he’ll surely exercise) for $5.8 million? Now you’re talking about a team with some serious cap room.

The Celtics can build an offer for Salmons using only the expiring deals of expendable players (Tony Allen + Brian Scalabrine is enough to match Salmons’ salary), and the Bulls can take on a couple of extra bodies, since they only have 13 guys on their roster. (The league max is 15). Building an offer for Hinrich is a bit trickier.

I don’t want to steal Brian’s thunder, so I’ll keep it short. Here are some factors you need to consider in thinking about any possible Hinrich/Salmons deal:

1) The Bulls have won three straight on the road, have upped their record to 21-22 and will almost certainly make the playoffs—and be a pesky out—as presently constructed. The recent decision to insert Hinrich into the starting line-up appears to have worked well. Salmons, who started the year missing just about everything, is suddenly hot from long-range.

Are the Bulls really willing to disrupt this good vibe in exchange for the (expiring) flotsam and jetsam of the C’s bench?

2) If they are, will they demand cash or a draft pick to sweeten the deal?

3) Are the Celtics, who are way over the tax line this year and will be again next year, willing to add another salary larger than the mid-level exception to next season’s payroll? Or, in Hinrich’s case, $9 million next season and $8 million in 2012, according to ShamSports?

4) Salmons is shooting 41 percent. Hinrich is shooting 39 percent. They both enjoy the challenge of a 20-foot jump shot. Would they fit here offensively?

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Zach Lowe

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  • Cptn Bubbles

    I’d rather have Andre Miller than Kirk. More exp., scores more, better shooter (except from 3—but Andre likes to score more inside), better free throw shooter, prefer his post up & getting into the lane for higher percentage shots than Kirk’s mediocre 3s. We have too many people shooting 3s right now anyway. A guard posting up? That would be way cool *****Check it out Andre gets to the free throw line about 4 times more than Kirk 224 free throw attempts vs. 57….and Andre shoots 81% from the line…That’s a whole new beautiful way to score & slow the game down. Sorry Kirk, we don’t need another 3 pt shooter. Andre is tougher & never misses a game. Andre is also 2.2+ million cheaper. Does anyone else think Kirk is overpaid?

    Salmons? Do we really need ANOTHER jump shooter? Salmons for 6.4 mil?
    Brendan Haywood is cheaper. He is 7 foot tall. He blocks at least 2 shots per game & intimidates more shots & can clog that lane up on D. He is basically averaging a double double & about half of his rebounds are OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS! He is a big who actually likes playing in the paint!!! He has not taken a single 3 pointer this year! He would intimidate a lot of shots in the lane. I’d much rather have more D, shot blocking / intimidation & rebounding than ANOTHER jump shooter who is not going to help us with the offensive boards.

  • Jason

    I would definitely say no to Salmons. If it was last year, I would have been on board for Hinrich. This year’s Hinrich isn’t the same. He can handle and defend. But his shot’s lost somewhere and he doesn’t create (much). The C’s need somebody dynamic on the second unit. Even though Jamal Crawford is a ball hog, for example, he can make things happen. Hinrich can’t. I like Quisy for what he does, but he’s not really doing that. TA is the best the C’s have is actually being dynamic, but half the havoc he causes is his own turnovers. This is why I loved hearing the Monta and/or Maggette rumors. The only thing Hinrich might do is prevent the second unit from stalling completely. Actually, that might be pretty valuable. Still, whether it’s reasonable or not, I’m hoping for somebody who can do a little more.

  • KY Celts fan

    @Bubbles – Do we need another shooter? Uh, yeah! Because with the exception of Pierce, none of our shots are falling! We have to have one of the worst shooting benches in the league. House, Davis, Sheed – all shooting horribly.

    I believe Chicago would love to dump Hinrich and Salmons, playoffs or no playoffs. It’s well known they want to make a run at Wade, bringing the hero back to his home. If they could also have the money to sign Bosh or Amare by dumping Kirk and Salmons, you’d better believe they’d do it. As they stand, they’re an 8th seed losing to Cleveland in the first round. With the trade, the have the space to sign major talent and be in a position to draft a guy like Xavier Henry or Demarcus Cousins.

    Rose, Wade, Amare/Bosh, plus a decent draft pick… that’s a championship.

    I’d take either Kirk or Salmons. There are rumors that LA is interested in Kirk, so he’s my first choice just for spite. If Kobe/Artest could bury the hatchet, Rondo/Hinrich can, too.

  • Sam

    #4 sounds like an SAT question.

  • KY Celts fan

    If Hinrich left a train station at 4:30 pm shooting 46% and traveling 90 mph, and Salmons left the same station traveling 65 mph with an assist to TO ratio of 4.3/1.6, who pisses of Rondo first?

  • Cptn Bubbles

    KY, I was talking about too many 3 pointers & too much jump shooting. We have plenty of guys who can shoot jump shots. Look at the percentages Zach pointed out for Salmons & Kirk……Salmons is shooting 41 percent. Hinrich is shooting 39 percent. They both enjoy the challenge of a 20-foot jump shot (funny!!!) Would they fit here offensively?…NO…Those guys are not shooting it any better than most of the Cs.

    Now, a guard who posts up, Andre, & a big man who is 7′, Brendan, & loves to score inside would give the Cs some diversity for more inside scoring instead of this constant barrage of jump shots.

    We do have guys that can hit shots. KG can hit shots 55%FG. Ray 45% FG. Ray, all his career & hopefully more so in the future can hit BIG shots. Paul, as you said, can hit shots. Perk is shooting 64%, best in the league WHEN he gets the ball instead of all these lousy 3s. Rondo has a high FG%, 54%.

    E House is shooting better from the field & from 3 than Kirk (check out the numbers). TA is shooting 51%. I was hoping that Baby’s hand would be completely healed & that he would revert back to playoff form. Should we wait on Baby a little longer? Sheed is only 1% different from Salmons on FG% (not 3s).

    My suggestion was 2 players who shoot better than Kirk & Salmons from the floor (non 3s). Their games are about a lot more than flinging up jump shots. Andre is a true point guard & can really handle the ball better than Kirk. He is a better shooter than Kirk, & he gets to the free throw line 4 x more. Brendan will get you a whole lot more rebounds than Salmons & at least 2 blocks per game, better D. I just think that there are better players out there than Kirk or Salmons, & Kirk is overpaid. Of course, all of these people are only rumored to be on the trading block.

  • KY Celts fan

    Bubbles, I’d much rather have Andre or Brendan also. But it is obvious that our bench needs a shot in the arm. Our threes aren’t falling team wide (again, with the exception of Pierce whose 3p% is actually up this year), and we’re having to settle many times for long 2’s, the least efficient shot in the game.

    To me, there is not much debate that a House and Scal trade for Salmons would be a huge upgrade. A trade of Scal and Baby for Haywood would be awesome, and if it could happen, I’d jump at it. I don’t think Portland would give up Miller considering how beat up they are, yet how good they’re still playing. Plus he has a huge contract we’d have to keep paying.

    I’d do a Scal and Baby for Haywood trade. But if that didn’t happen, I think Salmons or Kirk would certainly help the bench. I don’t believe Miller is an option.

  • dont_drink_the_koolaid

    dude is named after a fatty pink fish….so is his game. there’s a reason he doesn’t stick anywhere for long. he’s one of my least favorite players to watch but agree with @KY Celts fan, the Cs would have to do Scal + House for Salmons if on offer.

    i like cpt kirk, i kinda like the fit, but wouldn’t take on that contract.

  • Rav

    I like Salmons. Fills up the Backup SF position we so desperately need, with able defense and the ability to create his own shot.

    Hinrich fits well with House, but I like

    better than

    Salmons is cheaper too!

    P.S. If Chicago can trade both away they can sign 2 max free agents:

    Taj Gibson/Tyrus Thomas off the bench.


  • PP

    jr + walker + scal = salmons = championship

  • Berkcelt

    Ok, I’m going to take the challenge: Aaron “Grey” Gray…

    As for Hinrich and Salmons…I guess I like Hinrich better because he can play the point. Plus I will always remember Salmons for the play where Tony Allen snatched the ball out of his hands from behind and between his legs…I can live without both of them though. If they’re going to shoot 40% not sure how either will be a big help.

  • George

    My take (for Salmons only, as I think Hinrich is too expensive and the C’s wouldn’t go for him)

    1) I think they’d be willing to disrupt their sudden good shooting/play. They’re thinking bigger than a first round exit this year.
    2) Of course they will demand more than an even swap, since the C’s have more to gain now than the Bulls.
    3) Tough one. Taking on Salmons does give you bargaining leverage with Ray this summer (I know that sounds evil). I have no idea what their financial situation, but I’d wager they could swing it if they wanted to.
    4) I don’t think he’d be a terrible fit. For the 2nd unit you have Daniels doing the ball handling/slashing duties, House being the catch-and-shoot guy with crazy range and a super quick release. Salmons can peel off screens and hit the midrange shot well, 3’s sometimes, then you have Davis & Sheed. Sounds like a well spaced floor to me.

    I think another question to be asked is: with that size contract, is he going to be happy coming off the bench as the 7th, 8th, 9th guy? Based on how well Daniels worked in the beginning of the year, I’d say we don’t need this deal, but at least we’d be getting something out of the TA & Scal money.

    Also, bonus answer: no, I can not come up with a better nickname for Mr. Gray.

  • Sweeney

    Nobody mentioned a word about “D”. Hinrich appears to get after it at both ends of the court, but Salmons seems to play OLE’. Shooting is a need, but I put more value on a PG to handle the rock. That is a HUGE issue in my eyes, especially when teams start to play D come playoff times. I can’t see Eddie doing any more ball handling duties for us. Makes me feel like as nervous as Joey Galloway open for a pass.

  • Blackberry33

    I would LOVE to see Hinrich as a C

  • Jason

    @Sweeney. I mentioned D. And that Hinrich can handle the ball, too, actually.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    At this point in the season, there are lots of people on the block that we don’t know about. Hopefully Danny is calling around constantly. There are probably guys up who we would be shocked to see traded. Sometimes these deals are really really lopsided.

    News coming out of Blazerville has had Andre up for sale. I know it doesn’t make sense for them to do this, but, apparently their star, Roy, does not like Andre. They absolutely LOVE Bayless now, & he came back on Monday from the ankle. Roy’s hamstring is getting better, & they have Blake. We’ve all seen owners do weird things. If you are thinking of spending that kind of money on Kirk then I would rather save 2+ mil & go after Andre. He gets to the free line just about as much as Paul. That is hidden scoring which is often overlooked. Also, Andre will get the opposing guards in foul trouble with his post up game & drives. All those trips to the free throw line….imagine the possibility of Joe Johnson sitting on the bench in foul trouble….Free throws slow the game & give older people a chance to get back on D.

    Brendan would only be possible if the Wiz have a fire sale. All this is rumor, but I think better players with better deals are going to be popping up as we close in on the deadline. What is most important is that we all want to see the Cs get better & win games more easily. Let’s hope they don’t trade someone who is doing something like TA & keep someone who is not helping like Shelden.

  • Chris O

    KY Celts fan says:
    January 27, 2010 at 1:40 am
    If Hinrich left a train station at 4:30 pm shooting 46% and traveling 90 mph, and Salmons left the same station traveling 65 mph with an assist to TO ratio of 4.3/1.6, who pisses of Rondo first?
    Its a tie!!! Next NBASAT question.

  • mitch

    will rondo and hinrich get along??? everyone seems to forget the playoff beef between them both….why don’t we sign mike bibby while we’re at it lol

  • Micah

    hey Zach i would not quote this as fact but i’m pretty sure i remember Marc Jackson commenting during one of the chicago bulls games and at the end when the bulls were clearly going to lose he said “and here comes Aaron Gray the Bulls official White Flag”…maybe Marc Jackson reads the Celtics Hub articles 🙂

  • Tom

    Andre Miller would fill the backup point position, but I am still concerned about a backup SF. Can we really have spaghetti leg Daniels out there guarding Lebron?