The Sacramento Kings are the latest NBA team to engage in cost-cutting moves that will pare money from the team's books next season.<!-- START 'inlineAds : default' FILE: /.element/ssi/story/1.0/news/.branding/default/inlineAds.html --><!-- FINISH 'inlineAds' -->
The Kings agreed on Wednesday to a trade that sends forward John Salmons and center Brad Miller to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for forwards Drew Gooden and Andres Nocioni, according to league sources. The deal will reduce Sacramento's obligations next season, saving the Kings millions on the salary cap and keeping them well under any potential luxury tax payments. Gooden, making $7.15 million this season, will likely come off the team's cap after this year, and now, the team is free of the $5.4 million due to Salmons in 2009 and the $12 million due to Miller in '09.
This will be Miller's second go-round in Chicago; he played two-plus seasons in Chicago after being traded from Charlotte in 2000 before being dealt to Indiana in a trade that also sent Ron Artest to the Pacers in exchange for Jalen Rose.
Sacramento will absorb the remaining four years and $28.4 million on Nocioni's contract, but Nocioni's contract actually goes down after next season, when he's scheduled to make $7.5 million, to $6.8 million in 2010 and $6.6 million in 2011 before going back up to $7.5 million in the final season -- a season that will be the Kings' option to pick up.
The Kings have gotten good financial news all week. They traded a future second-round pick to Boston for veteran Sam Cassell on Monday in a deal that will net Sacramento approximately $500,000. And yesterday, the Kings learned that the league will grant them financial relief on the remaining two seasons on the contract of forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who has retired after years of knee problems. Because he hasn't played this season, the league will allow insurance to pay 80 percent of his remaining salary. So while he'll stay on the team's books, its out-of-pocket payments will be reduced significantly.
With second-year center Spencer Hawes and rookie forward Jason Thompson playing big minutes for Sacramento, Miller was a luxury. And Salmons' good play this season made him a candidate to be moved, with Dallas in hot pursuit for several weeks. The Mavericks had hoped to entice Sacramento with the contract of guard Jerry Stackhouse, who is guaranteed only $2 million of his $7.2 million salary next season (Stackhouse would get the full amount if his team wins the NBA title, unlikely in the extreme if he had been sent to the Kings).
Miller's presence could conceivably clear the way for Chicago to move one of its young pivotmen, either Tyrus Thomas or Joakim Noah, in another deal. Thomas was part of a package the Bulls were trying to move to Phoenix for forward Amar'e Stoudemire, but the Suns have indicated in recent days that they're more likely to keep Stoudemire now that they've replaced former coach Terry Porter with assistant Alvin Gentry.
The Bulls have also been looking to cut costs for next season, and have been shopping Nocioni hard for months. Chicago is still looking for a suitor for Larry Hughes, who has essentially been deactivated from the team in the last month by coach Vinny Del Negro while management seeks a deal for him. Sources indicate Hughes could still potentially be sent to Washington in exchange for guard Mike James and center Etan Thomas if the Bulls don't make any other big deals.
ESPN.com first reported the discussions between the Kings and Bulls.