In recent weeks, the web has been slightly buzzing about a potential break between the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony. As of yet, nothing has really come forward on the matter, and I personally chalk it up to off-season boredom/fan-fiction. But assuming the two sides does end up disagreeing on their partnership, one team's name will pop up, and do so a lot: The Bulls.
Because of Chicago's interest in Melo back in 2014, they're supposedly the obvious candidate to be so again. We discussed this briefly on Dennis Podman #1 in which Kevin Ferrigan made a strong point: The Bulls wanted Melo at the price they could afford. They didn't want him at the price the Knicks would afford even if they somehow could have offered equal money. It was a one-time pitch that more or less said "Hey, we know we can't pay you as much as New York, but with you in the fold at this price, we can create something special". If he had agreed, then great. If not, as turned out to be the case, then at least the Bulls wouldn't handcuff themselves financially. In short, the Bulls attacked this logically and put themselves into a semi-sort of win/win situation.
Based on that, there would likely be little to no interest in Melo now, especially when they lost out on one of his prime years and would get him a much steeper cost. Additionally, the Bulls have seen enough of knee injuries and Melo's certainly doesn't inspire confidence. So really, this should be a non-starter.
But then again, there that feeling is again. That tiny little thought that whispers "What if...?". Because, yes, what if Melo turned out to be healthy and remained productive for years to come? What if a change of scenery would unlock the efficient 28-point scorer who is active on the glass and makes an effort in moving the ball? What if he would come on board full-time and benefit from the already established members on the squad?
That version of Melo would at least be worth considering paying more for, but with four years left on his deal that has $101 million remaining on it, the price of "What if...?" is just too damn high.
Which leads me to my second point; If Melo asks out, and the Bulls remove their name from the Melo lottery immediately, no one should have any quarrels with it. Even with an increased cap that can make up for such a swing-for-the-fences move, there is just too much to risk. Making a Melo trade would be taking on one of the biggest contracts in the NBA, and basing one's optimism on the possibility that Melo might be healthy, that he might not show his age of 31, that he might become the guy everyone hopes he can. Investing $101 million in "might" and "what if...?" should alone present enough of a concern that any Melo idea should be rejected, even if he does possess skills that the Bulls sorely need.
And to make it even more depressing: If there ever was a time to acquire Melo based on prime and skill, it would have to be now. At 31, he's just young enough to not project as declining heavily in production for a solid three seasons, pending health. His jumper is still effective, his post game is advanced, he gets to the line, and he's incredibly strong physically which helps him absorb contact. He should still be able to sleepwalk his way to a 22-point average. But the circumstances around Melo are big flashing red lights you can't ignore, which at the end of the day makes any Melo acquisition irresponsible.