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Today In Likely Bogus NBA Trade Rumors: Kirk Hinbrick to Washington for Caron Butler?

by Ricky O'Donnell on January 4, 2010 at 12:48PM

This post is sponsored by Party Poker.

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We easily get more trade rumors in the NBA than any other sport, right? It's part of what makes the league so interesting to follow. In the last few years, the Bulls have appeared to be in serious contention for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Amare Stoudemire, Pau Gasol, and many more. That's why you have to take NBA trade rumors with a grain of salt: just because it could - potentially - work doesn't mean it's going to happen.

It seems fitting that in the first days of 2010, the Bulls are again rumored to be acquiring another All-Star. This happens every year. This time, the target is Wizards swingman Caron Butler. From the desk of former Wizards beat writer Mike Jones (via Blog-a-Bull):

I'm hearing Butler and James could be headed to either Miami or Chicago. Some of the pieces Washington could be trying to get back from Chicago, the source said, could be Kirk Hinrich and Jerome James.
So....does this pass the sniff test?

First, consider the source. It would appear that Mr. Jones is - like so many others in his field - currently out of work. Here's what his bio says.

A 10-year veteran sportswriter, Mike Jones has most recently served as Wizards beat writer for the now defunct Washington Times sports department. Boasting a strong work ethic and great versatility, he has proven himself as a newshound beat writer and award-winning story-teller/feature writer. 
I'm sure Jones still has sources all around the league. But this could also be a case of an unemployed NBA writer looking to make some noise by creating a few trade scenarios. Maybe if one catches on, he gets credit for the scoop, and it makes him look more desirable to hire.

On the other hand, with all the crazy stuff happening in Washington right now, it makes sense that the Wiz would be in the market for a lead guard. Hinrich (above, AC Slater-ing the hell out of that chair) would fit the bill, assuming his reputation league-wide is better than it is in Chicago. That's a distinct possibility, seeing as the Captain should be in his prime (he turned 29 on Sunday) and has shown in the past that he can be an above-average NBA point guard. 

Still, the proposed swap (Butler and Mike James for Hinrich and Jerome James) seems like a big win for the Bulls. Butler could slide over to shooting guard, and give the Bulls a dynamic starting five. It wouldn't even screw up the Bulls grandiose 2010 free agent plans, either. Butler makes $1.8 million more than Hinrich next season, Mike James (like Jerome) expires after this season.

To ensure that they'd have max free agent money at their disposal, John Salmons - who sucks anyways and becomes far less essential with Butler in the mix - could be shipped to a contender for expirings.

Chance that this happens: 25 percent. Hey, the Wiz have made stupid trades before.

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