The rumors have already popped up linking the Bulls to Carmelo Anthony and slightly more laughable, LeBron James this summer. I have a feeling Chicago won't get its hopes up. The cost of a max free agent to Chicago is quite high for Chicago to bear, and in paying it, they'll limit how favorable a destination they are.
On top of that, which max FA is going to look at Derrick Rose's situation and think "He's definitely going to be healthy, I can win there!". The answer, of course, is no one. That's why Chicago shouldn't rush to open up max cap space just to get shut out. I expect Bulls management already knows this and are planning around it. There are a couple possible exceptions to this plan depending on what moves they can make right now.
Presently, the Bulls would sit around 12.3 million dollars under a projected cap of 62.1 million. However, Nikola Mirotic's salary eats into that figure as does the scale value of any draft picks the Bulls land this summer. How much the rookies cost the Bulls will vary, but if the Bulls get the Bobcats pick and their own, it will be another two to four million dollars depending where those picks land.
In the best case (Salary wise, worst case position wise) the Bulls would only lose around one million in extra room if they don't get the Bobcats pick and their own pick is non lottery.
In order to bid on Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James, the Bulls will need roughly 20 million in room. The ridiculous rumors have already fired up from New York that LeBron could head to Chicago. He could also head to my house to play on my team at the life time fitness ultimate hoops challenge, but I'm not holding my breath on either scenario.
To get to that 20 million, the Bulls need to amnesty Boozer, tell Mirotic to hold off until 2015, and trade off some other high priced salary (like Joakim Noah or Taj Gibson + Draft picks + Teague). If you knew you could get LeBron, you'd do it. However, in this case, you know you're not going to get LeBron.
There's a better shot at getting Carmelo Anthony, but would you really make all those moves just for the chance at it? I'd somewhat cringe at paying Anthony 80 million over the next four seasons anyway given that he's never experienced much playoff success and seems like a complete ball stopper, but if you could get Melo with a core of Rose/Butler/Noah it might work out.
The only problem, of course, is that you don't have much left on the roster. Maybe the Bulls can convince D.J. Augustin to come back at the minimum in this scenario. The Bulls now look like
PG: Rose, Augustin
SG/SF: Snell, Butler, Dunleavy
C: Noah (or swap out Noah for Gibson and add the Bulls draft choices)
Maybe Melo will agree to a little less, and the Bulls will be able to keep their two draft picks. Maybe they'll be able to work it as a S&T with the Knicks to offer them the rights to the picks. Who knows. There's some flexibility there, but it's a team which definitely isn't ready to win in year one because it has no front court and no depth.
Fortunately for Chicago, they'd have Mirotic ready to come in next season, maybe if they moved their draft picks this year for 1sts next year they could add more talent in the draft next season as well. Either way, it'd give them more hope than the Knicks had of ever building around Melo, but it's still a team that doesn't feel like it has a great shot.
In short, the cap room plan? It's best case scenario is likely to land you Anthony on a team with no depth which isn't all that dissimilar from what the Knicks had going. It's worst case scenario is to leave you with a bunch of crap and overpaying some third rate free agent. The most talented guy the Bulls could bid on after Anthony might be Luol Deng which would be quite ironic and isn't happening.
In short, don't buy any rumors of the Bulls fixing this thing through free agency this summer. The cap room they have is generally being overstated and costs Chicago too much to acquire.
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