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Bulls trade Thomas and Salmons, look to future

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Chicago Bulls have traded forward Tyrus Thomas to the Charlotte Bobcats and guard John Salmons to the Milwaukee Bucks to help give them more salary cap flexibility, the NBA team announced on Thursday.

For Thomas, Chicago acquired guards Ronald "Flip" Murray and Acie Law plus a future first round draft choice from Charlotte, the Bulls said on their website (www.nba.com/bulls).

Forwards Joe Alexander and Hakim Warrick will be joining the Bulls as a part of the trade with Milwaukee. The Bucks also acquired the Bulls' second round draft choices in 2011 and 2012.

"We like the combination of our player talent, (salary) cap flexibility and our ability to improve our team this summer in the free agent market," Bulls general manager Gar Forman told the website.

"This trade is another step in the process of building our team and getting better."

Thomas, 23, gives the Bobcats a needed front-court player. He averaged 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in 29 games, making 13 starts.

Murray, 30, takes averages of 9.9 points and 2.1 rebounds to Chicago while Law, 25, has been scoring 3.4 points per game.

Salmons, 30, posted averages of 12.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 51 games for the Bulls this season. The eight-year veteran started 28 games.

Milwaukee also traded center Francisco Elson and guard Jodie Meeks to the Philadelphia 76ers for center Primoz Brezec and guard Royal Ivey, Bucks general manager John Hammond said.

They also took Philadelphia's second round pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina. Editing by Alison Wildey/Ian Ransom; To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)