With the new collective bargaining agreement around the corner, an agreement most experts feel will have the players absolutely crushed at the end, there comes a fairly big risk in trading for Carmelo Anthony even if the details are worked out and he signs an extension.
Anthony will be paid roughly 5 years 100 million after signing that extension, and given the new CBA may impose a hard salary cap, lower cap/tax thresholds, or some method to lower spending, the Bulls would immediately be behind the eightball.
Go out two years into the future, Melo's making 20 million, Boozer's making 15 million, Rose is making whatever the new max is (say 12 million), Noah might be making the new max, and if not is probably close (say 11 million). You're at 58 million right there for those four players. That's the present salary cap, and their salaries are going to escalate at roughly 10% a year for the next three seasons afterwards.
If there's a hard cap, that team is simply screwed. Someone has to leave, and Carmelo makes the most sense of the group because of his massive salary, but at this point, no team will be able to take on such a massive salary anymore, because of the hard cap.
If there's a lower cap / tax, then we all better collectively hold our breath and hope the Bulls will go deep into the luxury tax, because it's coming. It's probably coming in a big time.
Is Melo worth it?
Well, the answer in the second case is yes. He improves the team by a great enough margin that Jerry should pay the tax as we'll be legit title contenders and raking in far more money with extra playoff rounds and merchandise than losing due to the tax.
The answer in the first case is probably no. A lot depends on your view of Carmelo Anthony as a player, but with a hard cap, his contract would be a killer. Both impossible to move and making him overpaid. The thing is with a soft cap, overpaid just means the owner loses money, but with a hard cap, overpaid means your team is screwed.
In his prime, Anthony has become a legitimate #1 scoring threat. However, he doesn't have a top 5 NBA game, nor will he ever. Carmelo is who he is at this point, and that's probably a guy who will be in the 6-10 range (closer to 10) for most of his career.
Whomever Melo gets traded to, assuming this goes down, will have one of the league's most expensive deals on it's hand. Only Amare and Joe Johnson will really compare in terms of both years and dollars. Even Bosh, Wade, and LeBron will make a couple million less per year, while Dirk matches the dollars, but not the years.
From a team success standpoint, Melo's led the Nuggets to some decent records (50+ wins the past three seasons), but he's only made it out of the first round once in his career. There's an aspect to the way he plays that makes me think his impact isn't as great as his numbers.
You still make the trade. You have to. Much like the Boozer signing, though there aer a lot of ways it can go wrong (largely with the new CBA which is also why Melo wants a deal now), but you take those chances and see what happens.
That said, it's awfully hard to imagine this getting done. Deng + Gibson + Johnson + 3 1sts? Maybe it's enough, but I doubt it.