Monday’s trade of Luol Deng did wonders for the Chicago Bulls and while it doesn’t help then contend this season, it could go a long way to help them land a huge prize in the offseason in New York Knicks superstar Carmelo Anthony.
It seems as almost a forgone conclusion that Melo will look for greener pastures in the offseason and as I reported last week, the Bulls are one of just a handful of teams that Anthony has his eye on.
Chicago offers Anthony a better chance to win a championship than the Knicks do, especially if he has the opportunity to play with a healthy Derrick Rose next season, if Rose is ever healthy. Throw in a quality big man like Joakim Noah and some good young pieces like Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson, Tony Snell and Marquis Teague and the Bulls would look much better than the Knicks on paper.
The Bulls will be eyeing Melo and now they can go out and get him.
Chicago plans to waive Andrew Bynum by 5 p.m. Tuesday and clear his $12.3 million salary off their books. That will enable the Bulls to get below the luxury tax line, which, combined with the savings from not having to pay Deng the balance of his $14.3 million salary, will save the team more than $20 million.
In addition to the savings, the Bulls got a future first-round draft pick owed to the Cavs by the Sacramento Kings from a 2011 trade for J.J. Hickson. The Bulls will get the Kings’ pick if it falls outside the top 12 in 2014 or outside the top 10 picks in 2015, 2016 or 2017. The Bulls also got the 2015 and 2016 second-round picks the Portland Trail Blazers owed the Cavs. In a final piece, the Bulls will be able to swap draft positions with the Cavs in 2015 as long as the Cavs’ draft pick is outside the top 14 picks.
The Bulls also own the Charlotte Bobcats’ 2014 first-round pick if it falls outside the top 10.
That enables the Bulls to continue to add young talent to an already talented team, while the Knicks will have to sit at home and watch most of the upcoming drafts.
But there is more as the Bulls will also likely use their amnesty clause on forward Carlos Boozer, which would shave nearly $17 million off of their total salary.
Add up all of that savings and a little more roster tinkering and the Bulls should have no problem getting themselves in position to offer Anthony a max deal.
And they have the selling points of an already talented roster that can compete in the Eastern Conference already equipped with a former MVP in Rose. Throw in the fact that the Bulls will still be able to get better through the draft and Chicago is a big enough market for Melo’s desire and the Bulls have become serious threats to steal Anthony away from the Knicks.
The Knicks front office must see the signs and begin to get worried as if they elect not to deal Anthony by the February 20 trade deadline, they could watch their star walk out the door for nothing.