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updated: 12/12/2011 10:57 PM

Bulls quiet, but much happening around NBA

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  • Dwight Howard, talking to reporters Monday at the Magic's media day, said he loves Orlando after requesting a trade over the weekend.

      Dwight Howard, talking to reporters Monday at the Magic's media day, said he loves Orlando after requesting a trade over the weekend.
    Associated Press

 
 

Everyone figured the NBA's abbreviated off-season would be hectic. But who knew it also would be so unpredictable.

While the Bulls took a day off from practice, there was all kinds of news Monday that may affect their ability to reach the NBA Finals this season:

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•First off, Richard Hamilton finally was released by Detroit. The NBA requires 48 hours to clear waivers, so he could end up joining the Bulls sometime around Wednesday.

There doesn't seem to be much doubt about Hamilton's destination. The contract buyout was likely negotiated with the Bulls in mind.

Meanwhile, other shooting-guard candidates continued to get snapped up.

Vince Carter signed with Dallas on Monday, while rumors persisted that Memphis would trade O.J. Mayo to Indiana for Josh McRoberts and Brandon Rush. Jamal Crawford remained unsigned as of Monday evening.

•The Bulls faced slim odds on trying to reunite the Pistons' championship backcourt of Hamilton and Chauncey Billups.

Billups probably wouldn't want to back up Derrick Rose, anyway. But that idea is impossible now that Billups was awarded to the Los Angeles Clippers in the amnesty auction.

Hamilton accepted a contract buyout and was released, leaving him free to choose his team. In contrast, Billups was let go by New York via the amnesty clause so the Knicks could sign Tyson Chandler as a free agent.

That left him at the mercy of the amnesty auction, which allows teams beneath the salary cap to bid on a portion of his existing contract. The highest bidder wins, and that team is not allowed to trade its new player until July 1.

If Billups had not been claimed, he would have become a free agent. Two Eastern Conference rivals -- Miami and Orlando -- were ready to launch recruiting pitches, so it was a relief to the Bulls when Billups ended up out West.

Ex-Orlando guard Gilbert Arenas was not chosen in the amnesty auction, but the Bulls aren't like to have interest.

•While the Bulls are eager to give the nucleus of their 62-20 team another year to blend together, they likely would blow it all up for a chance to pair Rose with all-star center Dwight Howard.

Over the weekend, Howard asked out. He requested a trade and listed New Jersey, Dallas and the Lakers as preferred destinations. The reason given was a busted relationship with general manager Otis Smith.

"I want to win. And I want to be involved (in personnel decisions)," Howard told reporters in Orlando. "The stuff that I felt our team needed to get better, none of it has happened."

When the Magic held its media day Monday, Howard softened his stance amid speculation the team will drag its feet and hope he forgets all about leaving Orlando.

"I love this city; there is no place I'd rather be but Orlando," Howard said. "I'm all about change. If you're willing to change and you're willing to do what it takes to win then, you know, you got me."

•In the meantime, a Chris Paul trade fizzled for a second time. On Monday afternoon, talks between the Clippers and league-run Hornets broke off.

But after the Clippers landed Billups there were rumors that a Paul deal might still have a chance if the Clips are willing to include guard Eric Bledsoe.

At Bulls media day, general manager Gar Forman was asked his thoughts on the league nixing a Paul trade to the Lakers last week.

"We've got enough to concentrate on trying to improve our team," Forman said. "We don't spend a lot of time looking at other teams."

Maybe, but there is plenty going on that could impact the Bulls by playoff time.

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