Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony are the two names that keep popping up in conversations as the second star Chicago could add this summer. It's most likely that they'll land neither, and quite frankly, I'll be happy if we could land either. However, if there was a choice...
So as a player, I'm taking Kevin Love every time, however cost factors into the equation as well. There are two general scenarios in which the Bulls could land Anthony. The first is a trade an extend with Carlos Boozer as the core salary matching piece prior to free agency starting.
The Bulls would likely give up multiple first rounders and possibly the rights to Nikola Mirotic in this deal along with Carlos Boozer. It doesn't seem overly likely to me that it would fly since NY would be on the hook for massive luxury tax just to get some mid range 1st round picks.
The second is the Bulls amnesty Boozer and move Taj Gibson for cap room [they likely can pick up a decent future first in the deal as well since Taj is on a very good contract] and sign Anthony outright. They then need to wait on Mirotic for another season, but there are rumors that he may not come this season anyway as he has no buyout starting next season.
This leaves the cost of Anthony to be one of the following:
Carlos Boozer + 3-4 firsts and possibly Nikola Mirotic
Taj Gibson + Carlos Boozer (amnesty).
While I love Taj Gibson, I think you probably have to go with the second of those two choices. If you flip the scenario around, would you trade three future mid round firsts or two + Mirotic in order to get Taj? No you would not. Especially since trading Taj to make room for Anthony likely yields you a 1st rounder back.
Kevin Love is a more interesting story, because the Bulls don't have the Gibson option with him, and if they want to get him this summer, then they'll likely have to pay more than they would for Anthony. The Knicks are probably aware Anthony is leaving either way, and they also probably aren't too broken up about it.
Melo's not an at age where they can really rebuild around him in a timely fashion to match his prime, his contract is expensive, and while he's a great player, he's only borderline worth 20 million dollars. You could easily make the case that he's not. They might be much better served by simply starting over given how far away they are and Melo's age.
The Timberwolves will be looking to try to convince Love to stay, so in order to pry him away now, the Bulls would probably have to offer near full value which means a package not centered around Boozer but Gibson or Noah + picks and/or Mirotic. Say the package for Love is Gibson + 2 1sts + Mirotic for Love.
It's now a bit dicier what makes sense isn't it? The Bulls are left with one of these two choices:
+ 4 million in cap space + room exception + vet minimum guys
+#16 +#19 + room exception + pick(s) acquired for Gibson + Mirotic waiting in the wings next season
The package surrounding Melo sure looks like one you're going to build a much better team with going forward.
Now if the Bulls could wait until the deadline to trade for Kevin Love and not amnesty Boozer so he's around to match salaries then if Minnesota is still looking to trade Kevin Love it becomes a different story.
Now, they'll be far more likely to accept Boozer as the salary filler as they won't have to pay him for any length of time, they know they're losing Love in a couple months for nothing and few teams will have the right components to make a trade work.
At that point, the Bulls might get Love for Boozer + 2 future 1sts or Boozer + Mirotic's rights and a pick if Mirotic doesn't come over yet. However, waiting that long to find out means the Bulls would not make any major moves this summer in order to improve the team, a scenario which paints them in a corner because they're only hope is to then trade Boozer for a star at the deadline.
Chicago's unlikely to hold off on Boozer merely to have a prayer at the deadline which brings us back to the earlier scenarios. While I'd much rather have Kevin Love on the team that Carmelo Anthony, I'm going to go with Anthony if we can land him simply by moving Gibson for cap space and even getting a pick back in the deal.
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