Bulls look into moving Hughes

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

larry_hughesIt looks like there might soon be a divorce between the Chicago Bulls and Larry Hughes. The split has been on the horizon for a little bit now but is still somewhat surprising considering Hughes performance. Hughes has been living up to his career averages of about 12 points a game, a few rebounds all in about 25 to 30 minutes worth of work. Even so, Hughes has inexplicably absent from the Bulls lineup recently. Hughes hasn’t seen game action since January 12th and it’s not due to injury. It’s the dreaded DNP – Coaches Decision. The Bulls have been shopping around and seem to have found a match with the New Jersey Nets.

While I haven’t followed the Bulls closely enough too truly know what’s going on, I’m sure its got a lot to do with Hughes attitude. Everyone knows Hughes has the talent to be a solid producer in the NBA but has always had the ego to with it. When he needs to stroke his ego and play his way it effects the team he plays for. Look at the Cleveland Cavaliers when he played within the system the team was dynamic. When Hughes tried to take over games they did alright but weren’t nearly as explosive as when the game flows through LeBron James. Remember I haven’t watched them much, so I’m just speculating that’s the reason. It may not be, they may just be choosing not to play him.

But back to the situation. Hughes is completely miffed at to why he’s not playing but is trying to remain positive. ”I’ve played for some good coaches and on some good teams, and I’ve always been out there, so this is new for me,” Hughes told the Chicago Sun-Times. ”I’m just trying to stay positive. I’m still helping the guys out as far as telling them what I see and what I can help them with.” Looking at another quote within the article, you may actually think Hughes feels hurt by the benching.

“‘It was unfair [because] I only wanted to play to help the team,” he said. ”And I wanted to produce because they’re paying me a lot of money. I feel like I’ve let my team down because I’m not able to produce. That’s what it all boils down to. I don’t want to be looked at as a guy who’s just earning a check and not producing. I just expressed that and, I thought, not in a negative way. But people can take it how they want to take it.”

Is he just saying the right thing, or does he actually mean it? I’m not sure but even if he’s just saying the right think its a little refreshing. Most players would say they want to help a team but not many say they aren’t earning their paycheck. Let’s look at the actual trade thou.

The Nets and Bulls are close to a deal that would send Hughes to New Jersey for Bobby Simmons and Maurice Ager. Simmons would benefit the Bulls in the fact he can help replace Drew Gooden. Gooden is currently out with a groin injury and his return is unknown. Ager and Hughes have somewhat similar contracts and both run through next season. Hughes is expected to make $13 million next season, while Simmons is due to make $10 million. Ager would be a thrown in to help offset the salary difference to get league approval.

For the Nets this could create a pretty explosive offense if Hughes can keep his ego in check. Both Vince Carter and Devin Harris are averaging over 20 points a game. If you add a player of Hughes caliber it could create another headache for opposing defenses. I mean really who do you guard? All three can shoot and score. All three can handle the rock. Only problem. All three have egos.

Rumor has it the deal is close to done and is just waiting for the Nets to sign off. The Bergen Record in New Jersey says the team is weighing whether the deal makes them better. And more importantly does it make financial sense.

It’s only January 21st and we see that the NBA trade winds are picking up. It’s about a month till the trade deadline and I’m sure these rumors will start picking up. Who goes where who knows, but we do know Larry Hughes will welcome that change of scenery. Hughes said, ”I’m ready to play, whether it’s here or somewhere else.”

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