The Bulls would love to add Carmelo Anthony to their roster this summer. Kevin Love recently announced that he has no interest in signing an extension to stay in Minnesota, and he is good friends with Derrick Rose. Several sources have stated that Love would be very interested in playing for the Bulls.
Carmelo Anthony is certain to become a free agent this summer, while Kevin Love can become a free agent next summer by declining the player option in his contract for the 2015-16 season. If Love is serious, which he is by all accounts, the Timberwolves really have no choice but to trade him before the NBA's trade deadline in February of 2015.
While Carmelo Anthony controls his own fate as an unrestricted free agent, Kevin Love has something to say about where he is traded to. No team will want to give up very much for a player who is going to bolt in the summer of 2015.
Add it all up, and the Bulls are in the rare position of being able to possibly add two franchise players to their roster this summer. The odds of this actually happening are very low, but it is far from impossible. The trick is to split up all of their trade assets so that both Minnesota and the Knicks are happy.
The Knicks aren't going to get a huge return for Carmelo Anthony, because as an unrestricted free agent he is free to sign with any team he chooses. But the Knicks will need some incentive to do a sign and trade, though they won't want to take on any long-term salary that will cut into the nearly $50 million in cap space they will have in the summer of 2015.
Carlos Boozer's expiring contract, whoever the Bulls draft at #19 this summer, and the Bulls' first-round pick in 2017 should do the trick. But for the Bulls' purposes*, Melo will need to sign for a first-year salary equal to the $18,862,876 that Derrick Rose makes. That would enable Melo to make $80,544,481 over four years.
Minnesota can demand more for Kevin Love, but they still won't be able to completely choose where they send him. Nobody will want to trade for Kevin Love unless he does an extend and trade, or at the very least promises to sign an extension in the summer of 2015.
Without Love, the Wolves are basically going to be rebuilding. They are going to want to acquire as many young players and draft picks as they possibly can. Obviously the Bulls don't have much young talent, but they do have quite a few draft picks over the next few years.
The Bulls do have Taj Gibson, who would be expendable with Love on board. And Minnesota would probably like Gibson to replace Love at PF, since he is signed for three more seasons at a very reasonable salary. Mike Dunleavy would have to be added to the deal for the Bulls purposes*, but they could also send Minnesota $3.3 million in cash, meaning they would only have to pay Dunleavy $26,235.
And the Bulls could send Minnesota a virtual plethora of draft picks, including whoever they take at #16 this year.
Basically, the two trades would be:
#19 pick in 2014
1st-round pick in 2017
#16 pick in 2014
CHI 1st-round pick in 2015#
SAC 1st-round pick in 2015#
CHI 1st-round pick in 2019
$3.3 million cash
#40 pick in 2014
The Bulls 2014-15 roster would wind up looking like this:
Vet Min: 915,243
Vet Min: 915,243
#40 pick: 507,336 (rookie minimum)
#47 pick: 507,336
This would put their total team payroll at around $80 million, meaning they should be able to stay below the estimated LT apron of $81 million.
And their depth chart would wind up looking something like this:
PG: Rose, Hinrich
SG: Butler, Snell
PF: Love, Mirotic
C: Noah, Smith
The Bulls would need to add a veteran PG/SG and a veteran C, while also adding another SG and SF with the #40 and #47 picks.
Please leave a comment below if you think this is a good idea, a bad idea, or impossible.
*- The Bulls need this salary concession in order to stay under the luxury tax apron- teams over the apron are not allowed to receive players in a sign and trade, and they also are not allowed to use the Full Mid-Level Exception, which is what it will take to bring Mirotic over this summer.
#- Pick has protection or swap option attached, click the link for full details.