NBA Rumors: Carmelo Anthony’s Simply Waiting for Chicago Bulls to Clear Cap Space

Carmelo Anthony Chicago Bulls

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that over the past few months — really since the All-Star break when Joakim Noah allegedly talked to Carmelo Anthony about coming to the Chicago Bulls during this upcoming free-agency period — Melo wants out of the New York Knicks‘ organization and to sign with a contender, specifically the Bulls.

The latest out of Anthony’s camp is that a recent meeting with Knicks officials didn’t really “faze” him and that he is merely awaiting teams such as the Bulls or Houston Rockets, as both teams were named recently according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, to clear enough cap space to sign him.

With the NBA Finals potentially (hopefully, right?) coming to a close tonight and free agency just around the corner, the likelihood of Anthony signing with Chicago continues to increase. And it certainly appears that the Bulls’ front office is certainly gearing up for a run at him as they’ve already announced Taj Gibson as the starting PF next year, meaning Carlos Boozer is definitely out. His $16 million or so would be off the books with an amnesty meaning they’d only have to clear another $3-4 million to have enough space to sign one of the NBA’s top scorers. That could be done with a simple trade of Mike Dunleavy for just about anything in return, more than likely a second-round pick.

Some worried that Phil Jackson‘s arrival to Madison Square Garden would tempt Melo into accepting his player option and playing out his final year with the Knicks, but it seems that won’t be an issue. Anyone can see that the Knicks will not be ready to contend next year with all of their terrible contracts still on the books for that season, and it’s clear Anthony wants in on a more stable organization. He wants to play for a championship as soon as possible, and with a team that’s proven it can win consistently.

The Bulls fit the bill perfectly and out of all the championship-caliber teams out there, they have the easiest path to securing the cap space needed to make a move of this magnitude.

Pulling off this type of signing would be huge for Chicago, and doing it in free agency, rather than through a sign-and-trade, is a huge plus for the Bulls. They’d get to keep all of their draft picks, and considering they have two in the top 20 of this loaded draft (I know, saying that is a little cliche now), that’s a major benefit.

If all goes the Bulls’ way in this scenario, the starting lineup in 2014-15 would be Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Anthony, Gibson and Noah. Tell me a better starting five and I’ll call you a liar. To top it off, they’d have two top-20 draftees (assuming they don’t trade up with their two picks) as rotational players, could probably re-sign Kirk Hinrich cheaply to be a backup and would have a situation similar to that of the Miami Heat‘s where good, veteran free agents will sign for the minimum just to try for a championship.

For such an aspiration to be achieved, though, it all starts with Melo, and the stars seem to be aligning right on cue.

Brian Neal is an NFL and NBA contributor for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @brianneal23, “Like” him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google+.

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  • Lando

    Incase you don’t kno yet getting rid of boozer 16 mill contract only clears up 13 mill against the bulls cap.

    • Brian Neal

      In case you did not know, the NBA’s salary cap is expected to rise to $62M this year. The Bulls, if they do not re-sign any players (which I doubt they will before a run at Melo), are currently at just over $63M in cap space. Amnestying Boozer opens up $16.8M (not only $13M), putting them at over $15M under, and then trading Dunleavy puts them at $18-19M in cap space. That would be sufficient in signing Melo if you backload the contract, especially if he’s as serious as he seems to be in signing with a contender.

  • Mike Meraz

    I reaally hope we don’t get Melo. No disrespect but homie is a cancer to teams. A beast in the Iso but a ball hog that disrupts the team’s offense and doesn’t like to play D? I’m good. We have other options, we don’t need him

    • Brian Neal

      That’s kind of overblown, in my opinion. He’s never really played on a great team. He’s been on a few solid Denver teams and had one good year in New York, but he’s never been surrounded by a cast the Bulls could provide. Is he a great defender? No, but that didn’t stop people from wanting LaMarcus Aldridge last offseason and it hasn’t seemed to slow people from wanting Kevin Love now.

      On a team coached by Thibs, and with a cast of hard-working players who are good, if not great, defenders such as Rose, Butler, Gibson and Noah, it won’t matter if Melo isn’t a great defender. His scoring ability will more than make up for that and provide balance for a team that was one of the worst on offense last year, but still one of the best on D.

      Attitude-wise, he’s absolutely fine as well. He’s never been a problem player for whatever organization he’s been a part of and his teammates haven’t ever really criticized him. Trust me, Melo signing with the Bulls would be a great thing.