Bulls get Miller, Salmons from Kings

Sacramento+Kings+center+Brad+Miller%2C+left%2C+defends+against+Chicago+Bulls+center+Joakim+Noah+during+the+first+quarter+of+a+game+in+Sacramento%2C+Calif.%2C+Jan.+30.+The+Bulls+acquired+Miller+on+Wednesday.+Rich+Pedroncelli%2C+The+Associated+Press%0A

AP

Sacramento Kings center Brad Miller, left, defends against Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah during the first quarter of a game in Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 30. The Bulls acquired Miller on Wednesday. Rich Pedroncelli, The Associated Press

By Greg Beacham

The Chicago Bulls acquired center Brad Miller and John Salmons from the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday in exchange for four players, including forwards Drew Gooden and Andres Nocioni.

Sacramento also got Michael Ruffin and Cedric Simmons in the deal, but immediately traded Ruffin to the Portland Trail Blazers for forward Ike Diogu and cash.

The Bulls gave up some salary flexibility to acquire Miller, a two-time All-Star who played 105 games with the Bulls early in his career. Salmons, a versatile swingman and Sacramento’s second-leading scorer with 18.3 points, also could be a prominent contributor to the disappointing Bulls, who are still chasing a playoff berth despite starting the day seven games below .500.

“You always hate to lose good guys and good players, and that’s difficult, but we’re adding two guys that we like a lot,” Bulls coach Vinny Del Negro said before the team’s game at Milwaukee. “I think we’re adding two really good pieces that we’re excited about, and hopefully we can get them here soon and get them acclimated as soon as possible.”

The trade clears well over $10 million in salary cap room next season for the Kings, the NBA’s worst team. Among the four players acquired by the Kings, only Nocioni has a contract through next season.

In the midst of a thorough franchise upheaval, the Kings didn’t hesitate to part with Miller, their longest-tenured player and one of the few links left to Sacramento’s run of eight straight playoff berths earlier in the decade. The 32-year-old Miller joined the Kings in 2003 and spent 5 1/2 years as their starting center when he wasn’t slowed by injuries.

“It’s going to be tough, because I have a lot of memories here,” Miller told KHTK-AM, the Kings’ flagship radio station. “My daughter was born here. I just wish I could have left the team in a little better shape.”

Miller hasn’t played since Jan. 30 because of a hip injury, but he showed flashes of his best game earlier in the season. He’s averaging 11.9 points and 8.0 rebounds.