Daequan Cook scheduled to clear waivers at 5 PM ET. If he's not claimed, I'm told, Bulls firmly in lead to sign 3-point specialist— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 4, 2013
Word is Rockets tried hard to find trade taker before releasing Cook but couldn't. Now Bulls strong favorite to sign him as free agent— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 4, 2013
Cook, who was traded to Houston from the Oklahoma City Thunder in the James Harden deal, was waived after the Rockets failed to find any takers for him and his $3.1 million salary. He's known as a shooter, but has struggled to find consistent playing time in the NBA.
The Bulls have battled their self-inflicted cap issues this year, but they have enough room under the hard cap to sign a player to a prorated minimum deal, and it appears they're going after Cook, who would bring three-point shooting to a team that desperately needs it.
On another note, this almost certainly signals that Rip Hamilton will be traded before the NBA trade deadline in February. That was never really a question, but signing Cook would make it a virtual necessity. The Bulls would need to find minutes for Hamilton, Marco Belinelli, Cook and Jimmy Butler on the wings, and with Luol Deng playing 40 minutes every night, there simply isn't enough to go around.
Only a few teams fit the bill, as the Bulls would appear unlikely to take back any salary — that's the entire point of trading Hamilton, after all. Phoenix would seem the most likely, as they lack quality wing players, have cap space and have a world-class training staff. But nothing has been confirmed as of yet.Tags: Chicago, Chicago Bulls, Daequan Cook, James Harden, NBA, Rip Hamilton