If the rumors that Tom Thibodeau blitz recruit on Carmelo Anthony is making him question his decision to return to New York, the Chicago Bulls reportedly have deals lined up if they feel the need to clear any cap space:
Carmelo Anthony’s intentions have not been communicated to the Bulls, source says. But Chicago has cap-clearing moves teed up.
— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) July 11, 2014
What could those deals possibly be and why does Chicago need to pull them off?
We’ll tackle the latter first. Why were the Chicago Bulls a final destination for Anthony and the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks were? They have the space to offer Anthony a full max contract, with LA being able to offer four years and New York offering five. This is where Chicago fell short in the race to secure the talents of one of the best small forwards in the NBA. But by moving several contracts, the cap space provided will give Chicago a chance to offer Anthony more money.
And whatever move the Bulls choose to make, it’ll involve power forward Carlos Boozer who is owed $16.8 million next season. With Boozer, Chicago has two choices: use the amnesty clause, wiping Boozer’s cap entirely off the salary cap, or package Boozer with a highly coveted asset and dump him (them) in a trade. Doing the math, removing Boozer from Chicago’s salary cap leaves them with $53.546 million cap space. Due to cap holds, the Bullls would have to renounce several free agents and possibly remove some lower scale players (Dunleavy, Randolph, Snell, Brewer, etc.) to get enough space to fit in a max salary.
While it sounds complicated, it seems Chicago is set to make the right moves to acquire space. All they’re waiting on is confirmation from Carmelo Anthony to take the next step.