NBA Trade Rumors: Moving Richard Hamilton Would Be a Mistake by Bulls

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 02: Richard Hamilton #32 of the Chicago Bulls seta to shoot against the Houston Rockets at the United Center on April 2, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Rockets defeated the Bulls 99-93. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When the Chicago Bulls brought in Richard Hamilton last offseason, he was supposed to become the final piece of the team's championship puzzle. Trading him now at a reduced price would be a step in the wrong direction.

It appears that's what the Bulls are trying to do, though. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports the team has floated Hamilton's name into the trade market, but they have been unable to find another squad interested in making a deal for the veteran guard.

That's not a surprise. Hamilton is coming off his worst season in more than a decade, mostly due to nagging injuries that caused him to miss 38 games. That lack of durability severely limits his trade value for the Bulls.

If they wanted to move him, it would basically reach the point of giving him away since the other team assumes all of the risk in terms of Hamilton's health. At that point, the Bulls would just be better off keeping him and hoping he bounces back next season.

The 34-year-old shooting guard averaged 12 points and three assists during his first season in the Windy City. That's not the type of production fans have come to expect from him and it's certainly not what the Bulls thought they were getting.

That said, it's important to remember he was often playing at well below 100 percent and averaged less than 25 minutes per game. Hardly ideal conditions.

After an offseason to get healthy, it would be a safe bet that he'll give Chicago a much better year if the front office allows him to hang around.

And it's not like Hamilton has an absurd contract, either. At $5 million, he would be a bargain if he's able to return to his previous scoring levels, but other teams are in the same position as the Bulls. They don't want to take any unnecessary risks.

So instead of attempting to force a trade just for the sake of getting him off the roster, the Bulls should exercise a little patience and hold on to him. Derrick Rose's injury situation puts next season a bit up in the air anyway.

Let Hamilton attempt to build up some value in the first half and maybe the Bulls can actually get something useful in return around the trade deadline.

Otherwise, it's hard to imagine the Bulls coming out on the good end of any potential trade.