Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
The Trade: The New York Knicks sign-and-trade Carmelo Anthony to the Chicago Bulls for Carlos Boozer, Nikola Mirotic, Mike Dunleavy, Greg Smith and the No. 16 and 19 picks in the 2014 draft.
The Washington Wizards exposed the Chicago Bulls' desperate need for a go-to scorer in the opening round of the 2014 playoffs. Thus, if the Bulls can't convince the Minnesota Timberwolves to trade Kevin Love to them, Carmelo Anthony should be No. 1 on their offseason priority list.
ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard reported that Bulls center Joakim Noah has been recruiting Anthony since the All-Star break, and per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Noah hasn't let up on those efforts.
According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, Anthony approached a former Bulls player in mid-April and asked what it was like to play under Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau, further cementing the idea that he's strongly considering a move to the Windy City this summer.
Unless Anthony is willing to take a severe pay cut, however, the Bulls have major work to do to clear out the cap space necessary to sign him. At the very least, they'll need to amnesty Carlos Boozer and cut Mike James and Louis Amundson (both of whom have non-guaranteed contracts), which would leave them with roughly $46.8 million of committed cap space in 2014-15 (not counting rookie salaries).
That's why a sign-and-trade would be in the best interest of both teams. The Bulls could send out Boozer (for salary-matching purposes), Mike Dunleavy, Greg Smith, the rights to Real Madrid forward Nikola Mirotic and their two first-round picks (Nos. 16 and 19) to restock New York's cupboards.
Chicago, meanwhile, could also absorb the contract of Raymond Felton and still have roughly $16.5 million for Anthony. If Melo isn't willing to take that much of a pay cut, the Knicks could retain Felton and the Bulls would have about $20.3 million in cap space for Melo.
A core of Derrick Rose, Noah, Anthony and Taj Gibson would immediately become the Miami Heat's fiercest competitor in the East (and the Eastern Conference favorite if Miami's Big Three disbands this summer). The Knicks, on the other hand, would go into full-on rebuilding mode, but they'd have a sudden infusion of youth to help expedite the process.