ESPN is reporting that the Bulls have agreed to a trade that will ship Kirk Hinrich and the 17th pick in today’s draft to the Washington Wizards. The report says it’s unclear what the Wizards will send back in the trade (my guess is a future first-round or maybe second-round pick), which can’t be completed until July 8 when the Wizards will have enough salary cap space to absorb Hinrich’s $9 million contract.

The reason for this deal is money. This trade would increase the Bulls’ available cap space this summer from about $20 million to $30 million, which would give them enough space to sign two max-level free agents.

NBAdraft.net is reporting that this deal is actually between the Bulls and Pacers and involves Indiana’s first-round pick (No. 10). The problem is Indiana doesn’t have the cap space to absorb Hinrich’s contract unless the trade includes T.J. Ford and Ford agrees to opt out of his player option for the 2010-11 season (not likely), so it wouldn’t help the Bulls clear cap space. I believe ESPN’s version of the deal right now.

Some might hate seeing trades like this because it seems like the Bulls are giving up quite a bit (Hinrich is a good player and a first-round pick always has value) for nothing. But I don’t blame the Bulls. They are one of the most attractive destinations for free agents this off-season and if dealing Hinrich and a first-round pick can put them in position to sign LeBron James and Chris Bosh, for example, it’s a trade they almost have to make.