Writing today for Sporting News (he writes for about three different sites since joining the growing number of established journos taking buyouts from their respective papers) Smith throws out a few possible destinations for Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich, who might be available assuming Chicago takes Derrick Rose with the No. 1 pick. Take it away Sam.
Other pieces would be required to match salaries, but here's some speculative possibilities for Hinrich:
• Miami for Shawn Marion
• Indiana for Jermaine O'Neal
• Golden State for Al Harrington
• Portland for expiring contracts, like that of Raef LaFrentz, so the Bulls can get into the free-agent market over the next few years for Brand or Wade
• Charlotte for Jason Richardson (he and Gerald Wallace play similar roles); perhaps the Bulls throw in a veteran like Andres Nocioni for new Bobcats coach Larry Brown
• Milwaukee (would Scott Skiles want to coach Hinrich again?) for a contract they want to dump, like Bobby Simmons', with Yi Jianlian thrown in
• New York. Actually, it seems they're saving cap space to make a run at LeBron James in two years.
I'm confused. I can only assume Smith has seen Hinrich play hundreds of times, seeing as both worked in the same city for the past four years, but some of these ideas seem so lopsided that it makes me wonder if Sam has watched Captain Kirk, at least in the last year or so.
Hinrich (plus salary filler) for Marion? That's crazy unlikely. Say what you will about Matrix's attitude, but he's still one of the best small forwards in basketball. If Marion was going to walk, then maybe the Heat trade for Hinrich to get at least something, but even that seems like a stretch of monumental proportions.
Jermaine O'Neal hasn't been at his best as of late, but neither has Hinrich. I'm about 95% sure that the Pacers could get more for O'Neal.
I guess I could see Hinrich for Al Harrington. It wouldn't be a bad move for the Bulls and it does make some sense for the Warriors. Brandan Wright is quickly becoming a better option at power forward than Harrington, and they'd be light at the guard position should Baron Davis decided to roll out. File this one in the maybe category.
Hinrich for Richardson? Charlotte just traded for Richardson! There's no way they'd move him for Kirk, especially when they've got Ray Felton at point. And since when do Richardson and Gerald Wallace play "similar roles"? One is a scoring guard, the other is a lanky, defensive-minded forward. If anything they compliment each other.
The Milwaukee scenario is a possibility, though I doubt the Bucks would consider trading Yi after all the trouble they went through to get him on the roster in the first place. But this is the kind of trade I think you're likely to see involving Hinrich.
Finally, we come to the Blazers tidbit: Raef LaFrentz for Hinrich. I'm not much of a Hinrich fan, but that's the kind of deal I could get on board with. It instantly erases any future cap space, but you get a starting-caliber point guard without giving up anyone who plays significant minutes. This is the only scenario Smith throws out that isn't skewed in Chicago's favor, but I think it best represents Hinrich's actual current value.