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Tuesday, February 19
Bulls would send top three scorers to Pacers news services

It might have seemed strange for the Chicago Bulls to show up in Miami with only eight players dressed to play Monday, but it makes more sense given that Thursday is the NBA trade deadline.

And, the Bulls apparently have a fairly major deal nearly in place with the Indiana Pacers.

The Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site that a six-player trade between the two teams is expected to be completed Tuesday. The deal has the Bulls sending their top three scorers -- Ron Mercer, Ron Artest and Brad Miller -- along with Kevin Ollie to the Pacers for Jalen Rose and Travis Best.

The Bulls elected not to play Artest and Miller (Mercer is hurt) against the Heat so as not to risk a late injury that could nix the trade.

"There's a possibility it will happen [Tuesday]," Bulls coach Bill Cartwright told the Tribune. "We don't want to risk injuries tonight. Possibility is the word we're using."

Mercer, the Bulls' leading scorer at 16.8 per game, is on the injured list. Artest is the team's second-leading scorer at 15.6 and Miller is third at 12.7.

But the pearl in this deal for the Bulls would be Rose, a high-scoring forward who has been somewhat up and down this season as Indiana has focused on some of its younger players.

The 29-year-old Rose is averaging 18.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

Best has been backing up rookie point guard Jamaal Tinsley. Best, who will be a free agent after this season, averaged 11.9 points and 6.1 assists last season.

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