It’s Knicks v. Bulls For McGrady: Deal Expected Today

Two more days before the trade deadline and reports are that the Houston Rockets are considering offers form the Knicks and the Bulls for McGrady and his expiring contract.  According to Ken Berger, at CBS Sports, the Rockets are in a very strong position as the Knicks and the Bulls attempt to maximize their cap space to remain in contention with the Bulls and Nets for the upcoming crop of free agents.  The Bulls are reportedly offering the Rockets Brad Miller ($12,250.00), Tyrus Thomas ($4,743,598) and Kirk Heinrich ($9,500.000) or John Salmons ($5,456.000).  If the Bulls offer included Heinrich instead of Salmons, with the lower contract, the Rockets would probably send another player to make up the difference in salaries although there are other options. Heinrich has two years left on his contract and Houston is attempting to create cap space.

The Knicks reportedly are offering a package of Jared Jeffries($6,466,600), Larry Hughes ($13,655,268), Jordan Hill ($2,483,280), a protected 2012 1st round pick and a 2011 first round pick swap. The Knicks salaries combined are slightly lower than the McGrady contract, but reportedly the deal may include the Knicks receiving other players such as Joey Dorsey ($881,000) and Brian Cook ($3,500,000).

This deal would put the Knicks in a much better position to create enough cap space to bring in two max players or one max player and to keep David Lee according to cap guru Larry Coon. According to Coon, the trade could allow the Knicks to have as much as $31.5 million in cap space, which is almost enough to get two max free agents at $16.57 million.  Not quite, but almost.  The more likely scenario is that the Knicks try to keep David Lee which makes obtaining two max free agents via free agency practically impossible without buying out Curry’s contract.  For all of this to work, the Knicks will probably lose Nate Robinson which is why they are rushing to trade him, probably to the Celtics, before the trade deadline. 

The Rockets may prefer the Knicks deal as it puts them in a better position for the free agent market and the draft.  If you are a proponent of building through youth, the Knicks deal is exquisite, I think.  Jordan Hill is a big man who will benefit from the teachings of Olajawon or other Houston bigs.  Given the recent history of the Knicks’ regular seasons, betting on the Knicks’ first round draft picks in 2011 and 2012 is not a bad idea.  Of course the 2012 pick is better if it is only lottery protected until a subsequent year like 2014.  The Bulls deal is pretty sweet in that Brad Miller comes off the books next year.  In addition Heinrich and Thomas are better players than the Knicks are offering.  Reportedly, the Bulls have other options to beat the Knicks deal.

Will the Bulls spank us today on and off the court like they did in last nights game?  Or will Houston leave Walsh high, dry and ready to cry, which is also possible if they do not want the Knicks to be competitive in the free agent race this summer.