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Did NBA trade deadline come early?
by Sam Smith
Posted on Dec 10
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or their Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
Well, it looks like Larry Hughes isn’t going anywhere. And probably not Thabo Sefolosha, either, from his seat deep on the Bulls bench.
That seems to be the Bulls side of the three-team trade announced Wednesday that sends Memphis point guard Javaris Crittenton and New Orleans guard Mike James to the Washington Wizards. The Hornets get Wizards guard Antonio Daniels and a conditional second round pick and the Grizzlies, whom the Bulls visit Friday, get back their conditional first round pick from the Wizards in the deal for Joan Carlos Navarro, who since has returned to play in Europe. To make room, the Wizards released former Illini guard Dee Brown.
But that wasn’t all Wednesday as the Suns and Bobcats engaged in an intriguing deal sending Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley to Phoenix for Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Sean Singletary.
Is it February and trading deadline already?
It’s a bold move for the lately stagnant Suns and suggests any talk about trading the supposedly unhappy Amare Stoudemire is just that. It’s hardly likely the Suns would add the athletic Richardson, signed through 2011, and then want to lose Stoudemire. Rather, a lineup that includes Steve Nash, Richardson and Stoudemire looks like an impressive improvement for the Suns as Richardson is averaging 18.7 points and shooting 46 percent on threes.
The Bobcats had been trying for some time to move Gerald Wallace, but apparently despairing in that made this move for the veteran Bell, a hard nosed player of the kind admired by coach Larry Brown, and Diaw, presumably to provide an offensive counter to Emeka Okafor.
It’s a further breakup of the high scoring Suns teams of recent vintage, but potentially provides an exciting balance as the team again is looking to open the game more for scoring.
Meanwhile, for Washington its deal is a good short term fix as their backcourt has been unproductive with Gilbert Arenas out. Crittenton had been behind Mike Conley and Kyle Lowry at Memphis, and has possibilities.
I’d thought he’d be a good pickup for the Bulls to relieve Derrick Rose, but Memphis had been holding out for a first round draft pick. The Bulls brought in Lindsey Hunter for that purpose, but he’s pretty much stopped playing with DNP’s the last three games and a total of 10 minutes the previous two games. In that stretch, Rose has averaged 40.6 minutes per game.
Though the main possibility seemed to be Hughes.
I didn’t hear that there had been any talks lately. But before Hughes was hurt in training camp, the Bulls were active in talks with the Wizards in several multiteam scenarios involving Hughes. The Wizards were searching for backcourt help and had an interest in Hughes. Some of the possibilities involved Wizards big men like Etan Thomas and Oleksiy Pecherov as well as Daniels and possibilities involving the Clippers’ Chris Kaman. Perhaps that remains a possibility, though the Clippers continue to insist they are not dealing Kaman, who remains out injured probably through December.
In the meantime, Hughes has played some of his best ball in years.
Hughes is averaging 13.2 points this season and shooting 44.6 percent from the field, 46.9 percent on threes and 86.2 percent on free throws, the shooting numbers all by far career bests.
Hughes’ reputation long has been a game shooter who doesn’t like to practice shooting. Bulls coaches say that’s not the case now and Hughes has worked rigorously on his shooting.
In the last five games, Hughes is averaging 15.6 points in 26.8 minutes off the bench. He is shooting 51.9 percent from the field and an impressive 63.6 percent on threes, 14 of 22. He’s also averaging 1.8 steals per game in that time. And the Bulls are undefeated this season at 5-0 when Hughes scores at least 16 points in a game, as he did Tuesday in the win over the Knicks.
It perhaps is an ideal showcase period if the Bulls want to deal Hughes, but also difficult if he’s making such an impact on success. Though his play also figures to further limit Sefolosha’s chances to play. Sefolosha hasn’t played in the last five games and in six of the last seven with three minutes in the one game he’s played since before Thanksgiving.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or their Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors.