Bulls Chose Luxury Tax Over Trading First-Rounder

February 25 2013 at 2:30pm CDT By Luke Adams

The Bulls were one of just seven NBA teams that had never paid the luxury tax entering this season, but after standing pat at the deadline, Chicago is poised to be a taxpayer for the first time. According to Grantland's Zach Lowe, however, the Bulls could have "easily" traded Richard Hamilton and moved under the tax threshold, but were unwilling to include a first-round pick along with Hamilton.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported on deadline day that the Bulls were reluctant to pair Hamilton with a draft pick in trade talks, though at the time it wasn't clear what sort of pick would be necessary to dump Hamilton's $5MM salary. As I noted in my post on Wojnarowski's report, when the Grizzlies got under the tax by sending Marreese Speights and Wayne Ellington to Cleveland, the cost was a future first-round selection whose protection will likely make it a lottery pick.

The Bulls have enough assets that they could have afforded to part with one had they been serious about getting out of the tax — in addition to all of their own picks, the team also holds a future Bobcats first-rounder and the rights to Nikola Mirotic. Although Derrick Rose's brother Reggie may not have been impressed with Chicago's inactivity at the deadline, the team's decision not to give up an asset in a purely financially-motivated deal seems to represent a step in the right direction.

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