Some trade rumors don’t make too much sense for either teams, but it doesn’t mean that the Chicago Bulls aren’t considering a move that will give them Carmelo Anthony, while the New York Knicks receive Carlos Boozer, Jimmy Butler, Tony Snell, Kirk Hinrich and a first round pick.
Sounds a bit too bombastic, right? According to Evan Massey, a source inside the Chicago Bulls says that this is something that’s being discusses, with both teams hoping to pull it off before the trade deadline, and they’ve been going on for the last couple of weeks.
There are still discussions about the number of players the Knicks will have, and what kind of draft picks they’ll receive if any, but considering that their draft situation is awful after all their deals for big-name players in recent years, it’s hard to see them not asking for at least one first round draft pick.
Anthony can become a free agent at the end of this season. His cap hit this season is $21.3 million, which means it’ll take quite a few contracts to make it work, because the Bulls are on the books for $73 million, exceeding the salary cap and the luxury tax. Boozer is tabbed for $15.3 million this year and $16.8 million in the next; Hinrich is making $4 million but becomes a free agent; Tony Snell, a rookie, is on the books for $1.47 million next season and then a two-year team option worth $1.53 million followed by $2.33 million. Jimmy Butler, into his third season with the team will be making $2 million next season.
The Knicks might also include Iman Shumpert ($1.7 million this season, $2.6 million in the next one) and Raymond Felton, who has two more years beyond this one worth $3.7 million a season. On paper, financially, it works, but not when looking at it with basketball eyes.
Anthony can opt out of his deal anyway, so will the Bulls risk giving up Butler and Snell for a player who might bolt ship to sign with the Lakers or someone else next season? There aren’t that many teams Anthony would like to play for, and the Bulls are on that very short list, but they already have a lot of money committed to Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson. Putting Anthony on the payroll, even if he does agree to stay for a while, means hardly any ability to have some squad depth, which is an issue for a team with a vast experience in injuries.
And while Jimmy Butler hasn’t jumped into another level this season, the Bulls still see him as their next Luol Deng. Tony Snell has potential as well, and with a healthy team, giving all that up for Anthony doesn’t make all that sense, especially when you’re accepting Raymond Felton, or Iman Shumpert, who is an inferior player to Butler.
The Knicks don’t get too much out of this deal as well – No cap relief for next season, and pretty much being a team that can’t make the postseason, or have the flexibility to make changes that get them there. This might be an option both teams are keeping open, but it just doesn’t seem like more than a lose-lose situation for both sides, and if reasonable heads prevail, this deal won’t be happening.