Feb 19, 2013, 1:08 PM EST
The Chicago Bulls have never paid the NBA luxury tax.
This year would be the first year ever… unless they make a trade. The theory goes that the clock is starting for the repeater tax so if the Bulls are just a little over the tax now they shouldn’t go over it for this season.
Although they planned to be over the tax for the first time this season, Derrick Rose‘s stated reluctance to return from ACL surgery before he’s “110 percent” presents a dilemma. Why pay the tax and burn a year on the clock that begins ticking this season toward massive repeater-tax penalties for a less-than-championship season? For that reason, sources say the Bulls are open to moving Rip Hamilton in a deal that makes sense and saves them a year on the repeater-tax rolls.
I firmly believe Rose will play this season, he went through his first five-on-five drills Monday and while he has said he wants to be 110 percent that is him being cautious and thinking long term. Which is what he should do. But I’d be shocked if he doesn’t play by early March.
That is different than saying the Bulls are contenders — you can argue that with 75 percent of rose they are the second best team in the East, but is that reason enough to pay the tax this season? How crucial is Rip to the offence once Rose does return?
It’s going to have to take an offer they really like, but the Bulls are at least listening.
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