Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Absolutely going here. Please, won't you come with me?
I'm not here to tell you the New York Knicks will entertain a Carmelo Anthony trade. I'm not even here to tell you they should. Form your own opinion there. But before you do, read Howard Beck of Bleacher Report's piece on why the Knicks can/should/may consider moving him. It's beyond informative.
Once you've taken that in—seriously, do it—understand we're here to talk about "what if," as in "what if the Knicks decide to trade 'Melo?"
Well, then, the Bulls could be a potential trade partner.
Dealing for a player like Anthony, who can and will hit unrestricted free agency this summer is risky—but not really. We know Anthony wants to play in a big market, limiting his options. Marc Berman of the New York Post even wrote that Anthony is most intrigued by Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, specifically.
The Los Angeles Lakers should be able to create enough cap space to sign 'Melo, but seeing him in purple and gold is unrealistic at this point. Kobe Bryant's recent bouts with mortality, coupled with Mike D'Antoni's continued presence and Los Angeles' inability to assemble a talented supporting cast around the potential duo, hinders any sales pitch.
Chris Paul's Los Angeles Clippers are a better fit, but they won't have cap space. And unless they're willing to deal Blake Griffin (unlikely), New York won't entertain any sign-and-trades.
Which brings us to Chicago, and the assets the Bulls can offer. Below is a potential trade that both teams could find mutually beneficial:
Chicago Receives: F Carmelo Anthony (one year, $21.4 million), PG Raymond Felton (three years, $11.4 million*) and SG J.R. Smith (three years, $17.9 million)**
New York Receives: PF Carlos boozer (two years, $32.1 million), SF Luol Deng (one year, $14.3 million) and more favorable of Chicago's and Charlotte Bobcats' 2014 first-round draft pick.
*Felton has player option for 2015-16.
**Smith has player option for 2015-16, and cannot be traded until Jan. 15.
The Knicks remain on pace to clear their books in 2015, without the risk of Felton and Smith exercising their player options. They also gain a first-rounder in a loaded 2014 class, something they don't currently have. Charlotte's selection is top-10 protected this season, so it will likely be sent to Chicago, allowing the Bulls to structure this deal accordingly.
Let's not pretend the Knicks wouldn't remain competitive in the horrendous Eastern Conference, either. Deng is an All-Star and Boozer can still score and grab rebounds. He also allows Mike Woodson to justifiably run those big lineups he's so inexplicably fond of.
For the Bulls, they land a second superstar. It's clear neither the injury-prone Rose nor 'Melo is fit to be the lone star on a championship team, but together, they could make for something special next season.
Do you make this trade if you're Chicago, knowing 'Melo is a flight risk?
Definitely, because if you want him he's not a flight risk, if only for lack of better options on his part.