It’s no secret that Carmelo Anthony is a top target for many teams this offseason if he chooses to leave the New York Knicks. And the Chicago Bulls have become the favorite to land Anthony if he decides to test the market. With the attraction of playing with two other superstars, one of the premier coaches in the NBA and the great city of Chicago, it wouldn’t be all that shocking to see Anthony in Bulls uniform next season.
But with all the great things that come with Anthony and his pure scoring ability, it will come with hefty price — minimum cap room moving forward.
The Bulls have locked up Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose, three essential pieces for the Bulls’ continued success, through the next two seasons. However, one key player that the Bulls have not extended is Jimmy Butler.
Butler, a player that the Bulls, and frankly the league, are expecting great things from in the near future, has become one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders and is one offensive outburst away from becoming the next Paul George.
After next season, Butler will be a restricted free agent and will be garnering a much-deserved high dollar contract. That dollar amount is something the Bulls could have trouble matching regardless of if they are able sign Anthony this summer. But with the possible addition of a max player in Anthony, Butler may be left to the highest bidder come next summer.
No one in Chicago wants to see Butler go. His defensive prowess, toughness and high potential ceiling make him an important player for the Bulls moving forward. But with the opportunity to sign a player of Anthony’s talent, the Bulls may decide that’s a better option for the team moving forward.
Interestingly enough, the Bulls still don’t have a real idea of how Rose and Butler work as a backcourt duo. The tandem has only seen the court in 10 games over the past two seasons.
The Bulls are potentially putting themselves in a financial bind moving forward, and with the team’s history of doing whatever needed to avoid the luxury tax, Butler may end being the odd man out.