The NBA’s trade deadline passed Thursday, but there’s still one more, less ballyhooed deadline left in the league.
Players bought out by March 1 are eligible for the playoffs, so postseason contenders are already lining up for the opportunity to sign prospective veteran additions that could help them down the stretch of the regular season and beyond.
The Bulls were poised to tip-toe the delicate line of having 12 players on their roster, adding a 13th on a 10-day contract, letting that deal expire and repeating the process when the mandatory league deadline to add another player comes about for the remainder of the season. However, if more appealing options come about and they are still able to remain under the luxury-tax threshold by signing a player to a prorated veteran’s minimum contract for the remainder of the campaign, the front office will surely explore that option.
No offense to current Bull Jarvis Varnado, arguably the D-League's top big-man prospect, or familiar face Mike James, another possible addition, but the organization could have more appealing options to consider.
Glen "Big Baby" Davis is an intriguing name. Still a productive, passionate player in the vein of former fan favorite Nate Robinson, he could help the team’s big-man depth and is familiar with Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau from their shared experience in Boston. However, there will be stiff competition for the burly power forward's services, including the Nets and former Celtics head coach Doc Rivers’ Clippers.
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Among the available players who were recently waived are Ronnie Brewer, Roger Mason Jr. and forward Earl Clark. Clark was traded from Cleveland to Philadelphia, while Mason, a guard whose strength is shooting the ball, was sent to Sacramento from Miami. Mason, a former Bulls draft pick, considered signing with the team last offseason and was briefly in Chicago for informal fall workouts before opting to sign with the Heat.
Since the Bulls declined to bring him back following the 2012, the affable Brewer’s career has hit some rough patches. The wing began last season in New York’s starting lineup, fell out of the rotation and eventually ended up in Oklahoma City, where he barely played. He signed with Houston on a partially-guaranteed contract and while he remained a positive locker-room influence, he was unable to make an impact with the Rockets.
The quartet of ex-Bull Ben Gordon, currently in Charlotte, Bucks veteran Caron Butler, Pistons forward Charlie Villaneuva and Danny Granger — the longtime Pacer was traded to Philadelphia — are some of the names reported to be buyout candidates, though none of them are obvious fits for the Bulls. If anything, it wouldn’t be surprising to see another appearance by the available James, likely working out with former NBA player and coach John Lucas in Houston as we speak, though the point-guard tandem of starter Kirk Hinrich and backup D.J. Augustin is currently healthy.