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Chicago Bulls “Firmly in Lead” to Sign Free Agent SG Daequan Cook

January 4th, 2013 at 4:33 PM
By Caleb Nordgren

Marc Stein of ESPN.com is reporting that with ex-Houston Rocket Daequan Cook having cleared waivers, that the Chicago Bulls are "firmly in the lead" to sign him as a free agent.

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

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