(CBS) After all the rumors and phone calls and weighing of the present against the future, the Bulls only made minor noise ahead of Thursday’s 2 p.m. deadline.
Chicago traded veteran guard Kirk Hinrich to Atlanta in a three-team deal that netted it guard Justin Holiday and a 2018 second-round pick from Utah. The Bulls will also get a $2.5 million trade exception that lasts for one year.
The 35-year-old Hinrich has spent 11 of his 13 years in the NBA with the Bulls, who drafted him seventh overall in 2003. He’s the franchise’s all-time leader in 3-pointers and is third in assists and steals.
Hinrich’s contributed little this season, averaging 3.8 points and 1.7 assists in 15.9 minutes across 35 games.
The trade of Hinrich also serves as a salary dump for the Bulls, as they’ll save several million dollars on their luxury tax bill.
A fourth-year pro out the University of Washington, the 6-foot-6 Holiday is averaging 2.4 points this season in 10.1 minutes across 26 games. He’s under team control through the end of the 2016-’17 season.
Outside of the Hinrich-Holiday move, the reeling Bulls stood pat, choosing to instead move forward as constructed with the hope that an injury-depleted team can get healthy down the stretch and mount a postseason run this year. One of the most rumored trade candidates was All-Star big man Pau Gasol — who’s indicated he’ll opt out of the last year of his contract to hit the open market — but not finding a deal to their liking and also desiring to re-sign him this summer, the Bulls chose to hang onto Gasol.
“I’m happy here,” Gasol told the Chicago Tribune on Thursday morning at shootaround before the evening’s game against the Cavaliers.
The Bulls had talks with the Kings that centered around sending Gasol to Sacramento and bringing Kosta Koufos and Ben McLemore back to Chicago, according to The Vertical and multiple reports, but those discussions never came to fruition.
In talks with other teams centered around Gasol and/or forward Taj Gibson, the Bulls were asking for a first-round pick and a rotation player in return, according to the Tribune.
Shipping away Gasol would’ve signaled the Bulls raising a white flag on this season, as he’s been one of their most consistent players in averaging 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds while making the All-Star team for the second straight year.
Losers of 13 of 18 and having fallen to seventh in the East, the Bulls (27-25) will now hope to get healthy and find cohesion that’s eluded them this season under first-year coach Fred Hoiberg. All-Star wing Jimmy Butler will be out until early March with a left knee strain, and forward Nikola Mirotic will also be out at least several more weeks following an appendectomy and follow-up surgery because of complications from the first procedure.