The New York Knicks wanted a shooting guard, and Larry Hughes wanted out of Chicago.
They both got what they sought Thursday when the Knicks acquired Hughes in one of their two deals before the trade deadline, sending Tim Thomas to the Bulls along with seldom-used reserves Jerome James and Anthony Roberson.
Hughes was out of the Bulls' rotation and wanted out of Chicago entirely. He found a taker in the Knicks, who have been looking for a guard since trading Jamal Crawford three months ago.
"I think Chicago was very honest with Hughes and made him aware that when (Kirk) Hinrich came back, he wasn't going to play," Knicks president Donnie Walsh said. "I'm not saying he was happy or unhappy, I think he was looking to go somewhere because he knew he wasn't going to play once Hinrich got back."
Also Thursday, the Knicks acquired Chris Wilcox from Oklahoma City for Malik Rose in a swap of forwards with expiring contracts. Walsh said he thought Wilcox would add size and strength while playing either center or power forward in Mike D'Antoni's system.
The Knicks were busy at the deadline, believing they still have a chance at an Eastern Conference playoff spot. But they couldn't find a trade for Stephon Marbury, who hasn't played this season and has been told to stay away from the team.
The sides have been unable to come to a buyout agreement, so Walsh held on to see if he could move Marbury in a trade, but said he didn't get many calls and hopes now an arrangement can be worked out.
"I think most teams figured why would we trade for him when they're going to cut him, because that's been publicized for so long, we'll just pick him up when he gets cut," Walsh said. "So that probably declined the interest in him."
Walsh also said a reported trade involving Nate Robinson to Sacramento was "bogus."
The Bulls completed their second trade in two days. They sent forward Andres Nocioni, center Drew Gooden and reserves Cedric Simmons and Michael Ruffin to Sacramento on Wednesday for center Brad Miller and swingman John Salmons.
This one rids them of the moody Hughes, who was acquired last year from Cleveland at the deadline but has been a non-factor in Chicago's crowded backcourt. He hasn't played since Jan. 12, watching one game from a club restaurant, and is averaging 12 points in 30 games this season.
"Obviously with Larry Hughes' situation, we had been looking to move him," Bulls vice president John Paxson said. "The deal we made today was, basically, I told him and his agent, Jeff Wechsler, I would do everything in my power to move him."
Hughes wanted out for a while but has been hard to move, making $12.8 million this season and $13.7 million in 2009-10. That's OK with the Knicks, who would only take back players whose contracts expire before the summer of 2010, when LeBron James could lead a vaunted free agent class.
He fills a need for the Knicks. They thought they had their replacement by acquiring Cuttino Mobley from the Los Angeles Clippers in a deal that same day, but he was forced to retire because of a heart condition.
The deal sets up a second stint in Chicago for Thomas, who was dealt there by the Knicks before the 2005 season. He only played three games with them before the Bulls sent him home that December and waived him in March.
However, Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said he's played with and coached Thomas before and expects him to be a professional.
"I played with Tim a couple years ago (in Milwaukee) and I had him in Phoenix," Del Negro said. "I didn't have problems and enjoyed playing with him. I'll sit down and talk to Tim and tell him what I expect of him and what his role is. I expect him to be a professional and do his job.
"I have a good mind-set with him and that's why I think it's a positive move for us."
Paxson said Thomas would be counted on to fill the minutes left behind by Nocioni's departure.
"We had him a couple years ago and that didn't work out," Paxson said. "I talked to him a little while ago, and it was a totally different situation. He's going to come in and he's excited to be here."
James has made almost no impact since Isiah Thomas gave him a $30 million, five-year deal in the summer of 2005. Rarely in shape, he played only two games in 2007-08 and two this season before rupturing his right Achilles' last month.
Thomas and James each are scheduled to make more than $6 million next season, but James could be bought out.
AP Freelance Writer Jon Greenberg in Chicago contributed to this report.
(This version CORRECTS SUBS 12th graf to correct spelling of Wechsler.)
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