Chicago Bulls Offseason Thoughts Part II Reviewed by Momizat on . In Thursday night’s NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls traded the 16th and 19th overall picks to the Denver Nuggets for the 11th pick, Doug McDermott out of Creighton In Thursday night’s NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls traded the 16th and 19th overall picks to the Denver Nuggets for the 11th pick, Doug McDermott out of Creighton Rating: 0
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Chicago Bulls Offseason Thoughts Part II

Chicago Bulls Offseason Thoughts Part II

In Thursday night’s NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls traded the 16th and 19th overall picks to the Denver Nuggets for the 11th pick, Doug McDermott out of Creighton University, and Anthony Randolph. With the NBA Draft in the books, it’s time to focus on free agency, which begins on July 1st.

In Chicago Bulls Offseason Thoughts, I wrote that Doug McDermott might be the only player the Bulls come away with this offseason. I hope I am wrong about that.

Carmelo Anthony is definitely a real possibility, but this is familiar territory for the Bulls. Back in 2010, the Bulls first traded Kirk Hinrich away with the 17th pick and then traded Hakeem Warrick in moves to clear cap space for a run at LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. Instead of landing one of those stars, the Bulls ended up with Carlos Boozer and his terrible contact.

With the Heat still most likely to retain James, the cream of the crop is Carmelo Anthony. Melo intends to meet with the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets once free agency begins on July 1st according to reports.

On Thursday, the Rockets traded Omer Asik to the Pelicans as they make space for a third superstar. The Mavericks also made a trade Thursday in attempts to sign a max player. Carmelo hasn’t ruled out a return to the Knicks and until he does, there is no guarantee that Melo leaves the Big Apple.

Let’s say Melo agree to come to Chicago, here’s how the finances shake out for the Bulls:

2014-15 Salary Cap: $63,200,000

2014-15 Luxury Tax Threshold: $77,000,000

Difference: $13,800,000

MLE for non-tax paying teams over the cap $5,305,000

 

Mike Dunleavy: $3,000,000 gone via trade

Carlos Boozer: $16,800,000 gone via amnesty

 

Without Taj (Assuming Boozer Amnestied and Dunleavy/Gibson Traded)

Derrick Rose: $18,862,876

Joakim Noah: $12,200,000

Jimmy Butler: $2,119,214

Doug McDermott: $1,898,300

Tony Snell: $1,472,400

Greg Smith: $948,163

Cap Hold = 37,500,953

Cap Space = $25,699,047

Carmelo = $22,000,000

MLE = $5,305,000

= $1,605,953 OVER

With Taj (Assuming Boozer Amnestied and Dunleavy Traded)

Derrick Rose: $18,862,876

Joakim Noah: $12,200,000

Jimmy Butler: $2,119,214

Doug McDermott: $1,898,300

Tony Snell: $1,472,400

Greg Smith: $948,163

Taj Gibson: $8,000,000

Cap Hold = $45,500,953

Cap Space = $17,699,047

Carmelo = $22,000,000

MLE = $5,305,000

= $9,605,953 OVER

All numbers from Hoops Hype.

In the second scenario where the Bulls keep Taj and sign Melo to the max, they are $4,194,047 away from luxury tax threshold ($77,000,000 or $13,800,000 above salary cap) with 4 roster spots to fill. Even if the Bulls somehow managed to start the season under the luxury tax, it is almost certain they would end the season in it.

For the Bulls to give Carmelo a max contract, they must trade Gibson. Even if Carmelo takes a slight cut, it would be too close for comfort.

If Carmelo comes to Chicago, they have to pull the trigger on a Gibson deal. The Bulls would have a core of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Carmelo Anthony, and Jimmy Butler. Taj Gibson would be gone, but Nikola Mirotic is a potential addition to that group and if he doesn’t leave Real Madrid for the NBA this year, the MLE can be used on a guy like Boris Diaw. Add in Doug McDermott, Tony Snell, and some minimum salary guys and the Bulls are a championship contender.

However, the Bulls have to be prepared for a scenario where they don’t get Melo. They want to put the best team on the floor, but overpaying a player like they did Boozer in 2010 would be deadly to the team’s cap flexibility.

In the case of the Bulls not getting Melo and keeping Taj Gibson, they are looking at $17,699,047 in cap space (not including their MLE) with 6 spots to fill.

Paul Pierce, Pau Gasol, and Luol Deng are three unrestricted free agents who could help the Bulls. The question is whether or not any of them will come to Chicago on a team-friendly deal.

After trading Deng to Cleveland, signing him at a hometown discount is highly unlikely. Pau Gasol is still 33 (34 on July 6) and has enough left in the tank to command a sizeable contract. On the other hand, the Bulls are one of four teams that Pau Gasol will be considering this summer according to an interview with Marca.com – the other three are the Lakers, Grizzlies, and Spurs.

Paul Pierce is getting old and may not leave Brooklyn, but he could really improve the Bulls in the immediate future. Although giving any free agent, other than Carmelo, big money this summer could come back to haunt them.

It should also be interesting to see how the Boozer situation plays out. If the Bulls are unable to sign a star player, the cheap Bulls ownership may elect to keep him on the roster, rather than paying him to play somewhere else. Just because the Bulls amnesty him, it doesn’t mean they don’t have to pay him, it just means his salary doesn’t count against the salary cap. This Bulls Front Office is known to be cheap and won’t shell out an extra $17 million if they don’t have to.

In terms of minimum salary players, there are a few guys I think the Bulls should take a look at. Ray Allen is looking to play for a contender and would definitely consider the Bulls, if the landed Melo. Kirk Hinrich is definitely a player to try to bring back if he is willing to play for less.

Andres Nocioni had a very nice season in Spain and he has expressed interest in returning to the NBA. Kenyon Martin is a minimum salary big who’s still got something left in the tank. Wings Francisco Garcia, Andrew Goudelock, and Marshon Brooks also deserve looks.

In the coming weeks we should have a much better idea of where Melo will end up and whether or not Nikola Mirotic is coming over. Both of their decisions will have major implications on the Bulls season and beyond.

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