As the Chicago Bulls continue to fight for their lives in the 2014 NBA playoffs, their biggest challenge will more than likely be in free agency this summer. With the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony an unrestricted free agent in July, the Bulls are expected to be major contenders in signing the small forward.
The Bulls, already with close to the $58.6 million allowed in the salary cap, would have to shed a number of contracts if they want to sign the likes of Anthony. However, Chicago got an added boost when Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the salary cap will be raised to $63.2 million in the 2014-15 season. This gives the Bulls roughly an extra $5 million to sign Anthony to this summer.
But in order to make a run at Anthony, the Bulls would have to use their amnesty to relieve themselves of Carlos Boozer’s remaining $15 million contract. Boozer, who averaged a disappointing 13 points and eight rebounds during the regular season, saw his minutes reduced due to the stellar play of Taj Gibson.
The Bulls also signed an abundance of low salary players prior to the conclusion of the regular season. The contracts of Ronnie Brewer, Mike James and Lou Amundson could all be moved in the summer in any sign-and-trade scenario with the Knicks.
In any event, the Bulls appear to be a solid front-runner to land Anthony this summer. His respect for head coach Tom Thibodeau, and also his need to be on a championship contender, makes Chicago a primary destination for Anthony. The Bulls also have a void at small forward after trading Luol Deng to the Cleveland Cavaliers. It just makes sense for Anthony to become a Bull at this point.