The New Orleans Pelicans traded what appears to be a non protected (or minimally protected) 1st round pick for the final year of Omer Asik's deal.
Houston can now trivially trade Jeremy Lin to open up max cap room to make a run at Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James and complete their super team. Quite honestly, I'd say the odds of landing Carmelo Anthony for the Bulls simply went to zero. There's no way if I'm Melo I even consider Chicago at this juncture as Houston is simply a much better team.
The move seems puzzling to me as a Pelicans fan. Yes, it teams up Davis with Asik, perhaps the two will make a good combination if you feel that Davis can play on the perimeter enough to make it work (I'm not sure I'd agree with that or want that), but I can't imagine there was a big fight for Omer Asik on a one year deal in the trade market.
You're paying 15 million for his one year of service and give up a potential lottery pick to do it? The pick reportedly has Lowry like protection where it stays in New Orleans if it's a top three or worse than 20, but goes to Houston otherwise. Asik can walk away as an unrestricted free agent the following year especially given he's no guarantee to start with Ryan Anderson naturally complementing Davis better. On top of that, there were likely few (and possibly no) other suitors willing to give up cap room to get Asik.
Classic mismanagement move by the Pelicans and a brilliant play by the Rockets.
For those saying this puts the nail in the coffin of whether the Asik move was a mistake or not, it's worth noting the trade couldn't happen with the Bulls 15 million dollar cap number if they matched as the Pelicans wouldn't have enough space to absorb the contract.
The move is a big blow to Bulls fans on draft day, as our odds of Carmelo Anthony might no hinge on LeBron going to Houston instead of Miami leaving Melo looking for a new situation. I'd say that's a small shot, but it's actually probably LeBron's best shot at establishing a dominant team again. I don't think he'll do it, but I suppose it wouldn't be shocking.
Knicks move Chandler and Felton for Calderon and Dalembart
In a move which may hasten Carmelo's New York exit, the Knicks looked to save some money. Phil Jackson did his best Gar Forman impression discussing the flexibility the Knicks would get with the deal. They bring back Jose Calderon and save about 10 million assuming they waive the non guaranteed Dalembart, but they wouldn't be under the cap if they bring back Anthony (his cap hold prevents them from using the space then signing him), so the move really has no practical implications of flexibility savings if Anthony stays.
If Anthony leaves, the Knicks will have a little bit of cap room, but depending what they do with their non guaranteed players that room will max out in the seven million dollar range which isn't real exciting.
What the move really does is clears Felton's cap number off the books one year earlier allowing the Knicks to have a shade more flexibility next off-season to bring in free agents. It also, to me, signals that Melo is out of New York, New York knows it and might consider a S&T scenario. If that's the case, the Bulls sending Boozer to the Knicks might become a possibility, but with the Rockets deal to open up cap room, I find it unlikely Melo wants to land in Chicago.
Maybe there's something to be said for staying in the East where the conference is clearly inferior, but there's a lot more to be said about relying on Derrick Rose to stay healthy. No way is his best interest here anymore.
Kevin Love or bust
One guy who probably would still put Chicago in his top two choices for destinations is Kevin Love. Love's a better fit for the Bulls than Anthony anyway, the guy Derrick Rose prefers (not that I'm concerned with it, but hey added bonus), and the younger and better (my opinion) of the two players.
It remains to be seen if the Timberwolves will trade Love, but given the Bulls odds at Melo just took a nose dive, I'd say they should be even more incentivized to do so. If they can't get Love, it's looking like a "use your draft picks, bring over Mirotic, resign Augustin and hope for the best" off-season.
My current fall back plan (as if I could predict who will be there at 16/19) would be to take Hood and Payne. Add them and Mirotic to the roster while retaining Kirk and Augustin, and the Bulls suddenly have five good three point shooters on the team along with plenty of depth up and down the roster.
I'd not call that a massive off-season win, as the Bulls won't have solved their problem of being 100% reliant on Derrick Rose's knees, but if Rose can stay healthy he'd have a team that could give him a whole ton of room to operate on the court.
Let's hope for Kevin Love.
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