Blockbuster deal unlikely for Bulls
CHICAGO – The countdown is on for the Bulls to upgrade their roster via the trade market.
Yet all indications point toward the Bulls avoiding a significant move before today’s 2 p.m. NBA trade deadline. Bulls general manager Gar Forman could add another shooting guard to fill the void of injury-prone veteran Richard Hamilton, but only at the right price.
A national report this week said the Bulls had interest in acquiring Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol, a four-time All-Star who has averaged 18.7 points and 9.2 rebounds a game in his 11-year career. However, the Bulls almost certainly would have to deal forward Carlos Boozer to clear space for Gasol, and no team is likely to accept Boozer’s contract.
Boozer, 30, signed a five-year deal reportedly worth $76 million in July 2010.
Meanwhile, the Bulls’ chances of acquiring Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard appear to be remote. Howard, 26, is expected to opt out of his contract at the end of the season and could be traded today, but his most likely destinations are New Jersey, Dallas or the Lakers.
A national report said Wednesday the Bulls might pursue Washington Wizards guard Nick Young, who has averaged 16.6 points in 40 games (32 starts) this season. The Wizards have nine wins this season and might be willing to part ways with the five-year veteran.
Big shooters: One of the Bulls’ possible playoff opponents bolstered their roster via trade.
The Milwaukee Bucks confirmed Wednesday that they had acquired guard Monta Ellis, forward Ekpe Udoh and center Kwame Brown from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for guard Stephen Jackson and center Andrew Bogut, who is out with a broken ankle.
Ellis, 26, gives the eighth-place Bucks a dangerous perimeter shooter for a possible first-round playoff matchup against the Bulls. In nine career games against the Bulls, Ellis has averaged 25.1 points and 5.7 assists.
History lesson: Today marks the 26th anniversary of Charles Oakley’s record-setting performance as a rookie with the Bulls.
Oakley pulled down 18 offensive rebounds against the Milwaukee Bucks on March 15, 1986, to set a franchise record that still stands. He finished his 19-year NBA career with 12,205 rebounds, which is No. 21 in league history.
Bulls bits: Veteran guard Mike James, 36, signed a 10-day contract with the Bulls for the third time this season. … Former NBA player Walter McCarty sang the national anthem before the game.