The financial woes of the Chicago Bulls front office may be cured in a blockbuster trade for New York Knick superstar Carmelo Anthony. The results of this season have been far lower than expected by both franchises, and sparked Anthony to remark about not wanting to be “the next Stephon Marburry” in a recent ESPN article. This has caused fear inside the Knicks organization as Anthony has a player option in his contract for this coming season. Carmelo could opted out of his contract and sign with another team leaving the Knicks empty handed. One team closely link to that excepted Anthony free agency has been the Chicago Bulls, which recent trade of Luol Deng has been rumored to be for cap space to go after Anthony this summer.
The Bulls front office has been rumored to have concerns about contract incentives pushing their team over the luxury tax threshold and leaving them on the hook for a hefty tax bill. To further the problem the team would have to trade an asset like Taj Gibson or package a valuable 1st round pick with Carlos Boozer to be sure to miss out on the tax. Which is why the front office has been in talks with New York for weeks about getting Anthony now before his free agency, and have the opportunity to offer him a deal before summer. The rumored deal would send Carlos Boozer, Kirk Hinrich, Jimmy Butler, Tony Snell and future 1st to the Knicks in return for Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert. The proposed trade makes sense for both teams, for the Bulls they get a superstar to lead their team, and with uncertainty about Rose’s future is a high priority. The Knicks get young future assets in Butler, Snell and the future selection, and can amnesty Amare Stoudemire in favor of Boozer at power forward.
“According to sources inside the Chicago Bulls organization, the team has been in discussions with the New York Knicks over the last couple of weeks regarding a trade for Carmelo Anthony. The two sides have been rumored to have interest, but according to this report the talks have already been going on for the past couple of weeks. It will be very interesting to see if the Bulls are able to work out a trade with the Knicks before the trade deadline passes.”
Chicago has always been viewed as second class to New York, and carries a chip about being the second city. Just like Chicago, Carmelo carries that same burden as second guy; a monicker he too despises. The futures of Carmelo and his draft classmate Lebron James will always be link to each others fortunes. However, with a style that should prove for longevity and a huge chip on his shoulder, Carmelo still could become the better of the two if he starts winning titles fast. Something he knows will not happen in New York for a very long time. The most intriguing thing about all this Carmelo Anthony talk is that Anthony is the perfect fit for Chicago, and they share not only a burden of being the second fiddle, but also of having Lebron James in the eastern conference.
The Bulls have come to the realized that Derrick Rose alone is not going to be enough. This even if Rose ever returns to be the MVP level player he once was, the Bulls know that Anthony is that player right now and combining the two superstars can benefit both players. This move would also insure the team if Rose falls short of expectations, and give them a franchise player in Anthony. It is highly unlikely the club would draw as good a return from the players and picks involved than Anthony alone can bring the team. A starting five of Anthony, Rose, Noah, Taj, Shumpert and 6th man in euro-league star Nikola Mirotic would be a strong team and has the talent and youth to make a long run. Iman Shumpert also local to Chicago would be a welcome addition along with a veteran point guard that can start on many teams in Raymond Felton, and at only around 3 million per season.
The Knicks “trade or no trade” have a herculean task of rebuilding their team and moving around the numerous large contracts on there books. If the organization is confident Anthony is going to walk this summer, than a trade makes sense moving forward. The Bulls could give the Knicks the type of package of young players and draft picks a team needs to change direction and deal away a superstar like Anthony. They could amnesty Amare Stoudemire’s 22 million for next season, and play Boozer with Chandler for 2014-15 and have two expiring deals at 14 & 16 million coming off the books or the ability to grab talent away from teams looking to cash in young talent for salary space. They would acquire two young and talented wings in Butler and Snell and receive much needed 1st round draft picks which the Knicks have traded away for two of the next three drafts. With the increasing appearance of reports about the Bulls interest in Anthony, I am sceptically optimistic a deal will happen before the February 20th trade deadline.