Bad news for the New York Knicks: Carmelo Anthony is asking people around about the city of Chicago—a sure sign that indeed he is considering signing with the Bulls franchise when he hits free agency come July 1.
According to ESPN.COM’s Ian Begley, Melo is “researching the city of Chicago” and “has spoken to at least one high-profile person who lives in Chicago about what it is like to live in the city.”
This is good news for the Bulls, which among the interested parties have the least to offer unless they can clear some salary or do a sign-and-trade with the Knicks.
Others interested in Melo’s services are the Houston Rockets—similar to the Bulls they don’t have cap space but can clear some or attempt at a sign-and-trade with NY as well; the Dallas Mavericks—with major cap space especially if free-agent-to-be Dirk Nowitzki takes a pay cut; and the Los Angeles Lakers, who has room for a high-salary player as well.
The Bulls can attempt to unload the big contract of Carlos Boozer ($16.8M in 2014-2015) but it appears no one is interested in acquiring the big man with a toxic contract. The best option would be to convince New York with new president Phil Jackson at the helm for a sign-and-trade.
The latter option means that N.Y. should agree in getting Boozer’s contract back and probably one of Taj Gibson ($8.0M) or Jimmy Butler ($2.1M) plus future first round picks to entice the Knicks, who given up most of their first-rounders in previous deals.
Financially, the Knicks still have the best offer for Anthony with a five year contract amounting to nearly $130M—that drops considerably to below $100 if he signs with other teams other than the Big Apple franchise.
Melo doing his “background check” on Chicago was expected since he announced multiple times that if he’s going to leave New York, it will be for a team that will be a “contender” in the next few years.
The Bulls do have the pieces to be considered after all they have the 2013-2014 Defensive Player of the Year in Joakim Noah; a hopefully healthy Derrick Rose; and a top-notch coach in Tom Thibodeau.