Carmelo Anthony‘s time with the New York Knicks is seemingly at an end, as Melo is expected to exercise his early termination option and enter the free agent class of 2014. So who could afford Anthony and what would it take to get him there?
The Chicago Bulls have been linked to Anthony, and according to NBA salary cap wizard Larry Coon, they might be able to outbid other potential suitors with next season’s new cap structure.
According to Coon, the league has raised the projected 2014-15 salary cap from $62.9 million to $63.2 million and the luxury tax threshold has gone up from $75.7 million to $77.0 million. This puts the Bulls in a good position to make a run at Melo.
When Coon crunches the numbers, he says the Knicks could go as high as five years and $129.1 million, while other teams (Chicago included) would max out at $95.9 million over four years. But Anthony has stated he doesn’t want to re-build with the Knicks, so this is a case where money may not be the deciding factor.
The Bulls won’t be able to give Melo a max deal without gutting the roster, and that’s not going to happen. Anthony would have to take a pay cut to play in Chicago, with a first-year salary that would top out at around $17.5 million, which is significantly less than the $22.45 million he could get in a max deal.
Anthony is nearing the end of his career, and he knows it. The window for winning an NBA title is quickly closing, so chances are that he’ll go with a team that offers a competitive contract and gives him the best shot at finally getting a ring.