Right now, everyone loves Carmelo Anthony. He just set a season high and a New York Knicks all-time record by scoring 62 points in a game. It should probably be noted that there was plenty of time left on the clock so if the game wasn't such a blowout he would have likely scored many more. He also contributed 13 rebounds, incase anyone was wondering. However, that performance shouldn't make New Yorkers forget the threat of Anthony possibly leaving this off-season after opting out of his contract. Most have their eyes on one of the Los Angeles teams luring him to the west coast. However, no one should forget about the possibility of him joining the Chicago Bulls.
If the New York Knicks were to lose Carmelo Anthony it would be devastating. That alone would set the franchise back a decade. They've invested far too many draft picks, far too much talent and far too much money to watch him walk away.
The fact that they can offer him about $30 million more than any other team certainly helps. That alone makes them favorites to eventually re-sign him. Most believe he'll retire wearing a New York Knicks jersey. However, if he leaves he could very well end up taking his talents to Chicago instead of the more publicised Los Angeles destinations.
The losing, the decaying roster, has inspired 'Melo to consider closely the possibilities of free agency this summer. WIthin the past several weeks, a longtime confidant of Carmelo Anthony confesses, something changed. Never did he believe there was a chance Anthony would leave the New York Knicks – never the Madison Square Garden stage, never the $129 million contract extension.
Only now, the gloom of the Knicks' season – the uncertainty of the franchise's future – left that man to believe it's possible Anthony could leave New York in free agency.
"Chicago is much more in play for him than L.A.," the source said.
The Bulls traded Luol Deng for draft picks and are leaning strongly toward using the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer. They could create a maximum contract slot for Anthony, pairing him with Derrick Rose.
Admittedly, the prospect of Anthony joining the Bulls is an interesting one. They have one of the very best basketball coaches in the world — Tom Thibodeau. They also have plenty of talent on the roster.
Granted, Derrick Rose is a huge question mark. However, even if he never returns to his previous form he'd now have an offensive threat like Anthony to play with. It's also a team that would have Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Mike Dunleavy, Tony Snell and Jimmy Butler already on contract. If Rose could return back to even 80% of his previous form that would possibly be Anthony's most talented combination of coach/teammates during his career.
However, in order to make that happen the Bulls would have to clear salary. They already partially did that when they traded away Luol Deng. In order to finish the job they'd likely have to use the Amnesty Clause to rid themselves of another contract that would be on the books next season otherwise — that of Carlos Boozer.
Boozer is scheduled to make $16,800,000 next season so cutting him would certainly give Chicago enough money to pursue Anthony. However, Chicago's owner might be the biggest obstacle. He's much more concerned with luxury and repeater taxes.
To him the NBA is a business and he wants to increase his profits much more than win another title. However, if he could be convinced that adding Anthony and possible becoming a true title contender would help his bottom line the possibility of Anthony being courted by the Bulls could become a reality.
In the end, it's still most likely that Anthony enjoys being courted and then re-signs with the Knicks for the maximum amount of years and salary he can get from anyone. However, no one should laugh at the Bulls ability to lure Anthony to the Windy City.
If he were to join them they'd definitely have a better team than the Knicks would with Anthony next season. Come 2015 when the Knicks have loads of cap space that could change. However, when it comes to talking possible landing spots for Anthony maybe people should focus less on the Lakers and Clippers and keep their eye on the coach the Knicks should have hired and his defensive driven team in red and white.
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