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Bulls' next move will determine if they made right call on Gordon
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Columnist

The Bulls are believed to be trying to pry Chris Bosh out of Toronto.


Associated Press file

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Published: 7/7/2009 12:14 AM

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The day after the Bulls lost Game 7 to Boston in May, guard Ben Gordon was asked about the limited number of teams that would have enough salary-cap room to make him a decent offer in free-agency.

"It only takes one," he said.

Gordon was right.

The Bulls didn't think he'd find a suitor willing to pay more than the $9 million per season he turned down last summer, but the Detroit Pistons came through with a deal worth approximately $55 million for five years.

It would have been interesting to see what the Bulls would have done if the Pistons chased, say, Hedo Turkoglu and Lamar Odom instead of Gordon and ex-Milwaukee forward Charlie Villanueva.

Chances are, the Bulls would have tried to lock up Gordon for $6 million-$7 million per season, then made other moves to get below the luxury tax.

As it stands, some people will criticize the Bulls for losing their top scorer for nothing in return. But really, the Bulls are trying to swap Gordon for a player to be named later. By giving up Gordon's salary, they'll open enough cap room to make a run at a free agent next season.

Toronto power forward Chris Bosh is often assumed to be the Bulls' No. 1 target, and it will be interesting to see if Turkoglu's change of heart last week has any bearing on Bosh's future in Toronto. The former Orlando forward apparently had agreed to a five-year, $50-million deal in Portland. Turkoglu reconsidered and now appears ready to accept a $53 million offer to join the Raptors because his wife, Banu, preferred living in a more cosmopolitan city with a sizable Turkish population.

According to the Toronto Star, the very media-conscious Bosh fired off a Tweet reading, "We got Hedo! Next season's gonna be a lot of fun."

Turkoglu should be the kind of late-game finisher the Raptors have lacked. But in order to clear enough cap room, Toronto will have to renounce the rights to Shawn Marion and Naperville's Anthony Parker. That leaves 19-year-old rookie Demar DeRozan, Joey Graham or Quincy Douby to play shooting guard as the roster currently stands.

Bosh won't be available this summer, but one talented power forward who might be is Utah's Carlos Boozer. It's been widely speculated that the Jazz might try to move Boozer if it re-signs restricted free agent Paul Millsap.

Utah's payroll is already above the luxury-tax threshold without Millsap, so the Jazz could use some salary relief. One theory is the Bulls could package Tyrus Thomas with an expiring contract, but there is no telling what Utah might do. The Jazz has more than $30 million in expiring deals between Boozer, Mehmet Okur, Matt Harpring and Kyle Korver, so it could also just pay the tax for a year, then have flexibility next summer.

Detroit has been mentioned as another possibility for Boozer, since the arrival of Gordon could make Richard Hamilton expendable. But Hamilton is due to make $12.7 million per season until 2013, so the Jazz wouldn't save any money that way.

Pargo a possibility: The Bulls have some interest in Chicago native Jannero Pargo, who played here from 2003-06. Pargo spent two years with the New Orleans Hornets before going overseas. He split last season between Moscow Dynamo and Olympiacos in Athens.

Pargo makes sense for the Bulls because he could serve as both a backup point guard and an extra 3-point shooter. But with the Bulls bumping close to the luxury tax and Pargo in demand around the league, nothing is likely to happen soon.

Jackson accepts Artest offer: Give Phil Jackson credit for confronting a challenge. He could have retired to Montana after winning his 10th NBA championship. Instead, he announced plans to return the Lakers and will try his hand at coaching Ron Artest next season.

Jackson shared an amusing story about Artest on KLAC radio, according to After the Lakers lost Game 6 of the Finals in Boston in 2008, Jackson said Artest walked into the locker room - which should have been off-limits - to say he could get the Lakers a championship.

Then Artest walked into the shower area and told Kobe Bryant the same thing, Jackson said.

Artest in L.A., Shaq in Cleveland, BG in Detroit - this could be an interesting NBA season.