With the talks heating up about Carmelo Anthony joining the Chicago Bulls this summer, a lot of moves have to go right for Chicago in order for it to happen.
First, the Bulls must amnesty the $15 million contract of Carlos Boozer. That appears to be a given since the Boozer numbers have dipped significantly this season. He was also in head coach Tom Thibodeau‘s doghouse in most fourth quarters of games throughout the year. But it’s going to take much more than just amnestying Boozer in order to sign Anthony.
At the moment, the New York Knicks can re-sign Anthony to a maximum deal of $129 million over five years, while any other team can sign him to a four-year $96 million deal. The Bulls would still have to shed a contract or two just to fit Anthony under the salary cap. Trading Mike Dunleavy and the remaining $3 million could do the trick as long as there are other pieces involved as well. With Anthony at small forward, there will be less of a need for Dunleavy who was inserted into the starting lineup when Luol Deng was shipped to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Bulls also signed a variety of minimum-salary player before the end of the regular season. This move was originally viewed as a way to deepen the Bulls’ bench before the playoffs; however, it was actually done to provide the team with some leverage in case of any future sign-and-trade scenarios this offseason. The contracts of Mike James, Ronnie Brewer, and Lou Amundson all have non-guaranteed team options for one more season, so the Bulls can move any one of those players if need be.
There was also talk of the Bulls having to trade Taj Gibson, which could still be a possibility since the Bulls would only be $16 million under the salary cap, and that’s not including Boozer and Dunleavy’s contracts. Rookie Tony Snell could also be dealt in a salary dump in order to clear cap. Snell has one year remaining worth $1.44 million, and if the Bulls could also rid themselves of their two first-round draft picks, they would have more than enough to sign Anthony without losing Gibson.
In any scenario, the Bulls are better off taking the risk of unloading Boozer and several other pieces in order to acquire Anthony. The Bulls scoring woes throughout the regular season and playoffs is a good example why they need Anthony’s scoring ability in their lineup.