Numbers Game: Bucks Acquire Salmons From Bulls

Scott Cullen

2/19/2010 2:51:18 PM

The Chicago Bulls made a move to try and improve their cap situation for the summer of 2010, while the Bucks make a move to provide more immediate help.

Numbers Game looks at the John Salmons deal.

The Bucks Get: SG John Salmons, second-round picks in 2011 and 2012 and the option to switch 2010 first-round picks with the Bulls (Top-10 protected).

Salmons, 30, has come back to earth following his breakout campaign of 2008-2009, when he averaged 18.3 points per game with Sacramento and Chicago.  This season, Salmons is putting up 12.7 points per game, on 42% shooting, 38% from three-point range.

While his offensive numbers have dipped, Salmons is still enough of a contributor and provides solid enough defence on the wing to move into the Bucks' starting lineup.

Under salary for next season at $5.8-million, Salmons is a reasonably-priced wing option who can do a little bit of everything.  He'll improve the Bucks immediately, perhaps enough to compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The option to switch picks with the Bulls this year might present a little bit of value if the Bucks happen to overtake the Bulls in the standings and, combined with the second-round picks in 2011 and 2012, effectively provide incentive for the Bucks to take the additional year that remains on Salmons' contract.

The Bulls Get: F Hakim Warrick, Joe Alexander.

Warrick is a 27-year-old tweener forward -- not quite big enough to be a full-fledged power forward and not a good enough shooter to be an effective small forward.

Averaging 10.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game this season, Warrick could be a useful addition for the Bulls for the remainder of this season, particularly in light of another Chicago trade that sent power forward Tyrus Thomas to Charlotte.

With an expiring $3-million contract, Warrick's value to the Bulls is as much for his contract status since the Bulls are setting up to make a bid for a marquee free agent in the summer.

Alexander, 23, was the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft, but has yet to play due to a hamstring injury this season after doing little as a rookie (4.7 ppg in 59 games) in 2008-2009.

While Alexander is a gifted athlete, he's a raw basketball talent and, with an expiring contract, is likely going to have to scramble for a team to give him a chance next season to salvage his career.

By letting Salmons go, the Bulls will change up their rotation, giving Kirk Hinrich a chance to start at shooting guard, with newly-acquired Ronald Murray augmenting their backcourt bench scoring.

The critical part of this deal for Chicago is that they maximize their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2010.  Given the players on the Bulls' roster, both Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade would figure to be primary targets for the Bulls.

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