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Chicago: This is an outstanding deal for the Bulls, who dump one bad contract in Nocioni and get a...

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Chicago: This is an outstanding deal for the Bulls, who dump one bad contract in Nocioni and get a big boost for the playoff run with Salmons and Miller. Of course, the Bulls were hoping to strike richer with their combination of Drew Gooden's expiring contract and the $5 million exception from the Joe Smith trade, but once Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire were off the table this was the next best option. The moves set the Bulls up for a nice free-agent run in 2010, especially if Salmons opts out of his contract that year. And since Chicago is enough of a major league city to be a free-agent lure despite its blustery weather, the Bulls stand a decent chance of ending up with Bosh or Stoudemire via that route a year and a half down the road. In the short term it helps too. In Miller, the Bulls get a physical interior player who can shoot and pass, and one who may be rejuvenated by playing on a better team. He should be an excellent complement to the Bulls' more athletic but less skilled combo of Tyrus Thomas and Joakim Noah. Certainly he's better than Aaron Gray. As for Salmons, he's quietly become among the most productive two-way wing players in the league and should supplant Larry Hughes and Thabo Sefolosha in Chicago's guard rotation. If the Bulls' discussions to move Kirk Hinrich pan out, it seems Salmons' role will be nearly as large in Chicago as it was in Sacramento. Certainly he's a major upgrade over Nocioni, who had taken to hoisting wild shots, and could put the Bulls over the top in their quest for a playoff berth. However, if I'm wrong and the Bulls can't carve out playing time for Salmons, there could be trouble. The one negative about Salmons is his reputation as a me-first guy who gripes if he's not getting lots of minutes and shots. Grade : A-minus

http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/columns/story?columnist=hollinger_john&page=TradeGrades-090218
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