Bulls have an interest in Wednesday's NBA trades
A couple of trades dropped Wednesday that could affect what the Bulls do this summer.
Houston agreed to send ex-Bulls center Omer Asik to New Orleans for a 2015 first-round draft pick. The Pelicans may need to send some salary back to the Rockets, but they will have close to enough room under the salary cap if the cap rises to $63 million, as expected, in July.
Asik became expendable when Houston added Dwight Howard last season. With Asik off the payroll, the Rockets are within striking distance of opening enough cap room to make a run at Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James. Jeremy Lin also needs to go for that to happen.
Houston and Dallas figure to be the top competition for Anthony (besides staying in New York). One advantage for the Bulls is they play in the weaker Eastern Conference, thus the path to the Finals should be easier.
Anthony's primary teammate in Dallas would be Dirk Nowitzki, who turned 36 this month. The Bulls are offering Anthony the chance to play with guys closer to his own age and the idea of a solid four-year run together. The window might be smaller in Dallas.
The Rockets offer an intriguing combination on paper, with Anthony playing next to James Harden and Dwight Howard. The chemistry of this potential trio would be something to consider. Howard hasn't been a coveted teammate in recent years, while Harden is a high-volume shooter, much like Anthony.
Anthony is expected to visit Chicago, Houston and Dallas after July 1, and Miami could conceivably join the party.
By the way, thumbs up to the Pelicans' front line of Asik, Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson. But it makes my head hurt to think about how New Orleans gave up two top-10 picks for Jrue Holiday, signed Tyreke Evans to a virtually untradeable contract and declined a golden opportunity to let Eric Gordon walk as a restricted free agent to Phoenix.
That's what happens when teams get into “we've got to do something” mode. Davis, one of the league's brightest young stars, deserves better.
KNICKS SHUFFLE SALARIES
The other trade involved the Knicks and Mavericks. Tyson Chandler is returning to Dallas, along with guard Raymond Felton. Guards Jose Calderon, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington, center Sam Dalembert and two second-round picks will go to New York,
The irony in this deal is Dallas didn't re-sign Chandler after he was part of the 2011 championship team. The Mavs' decision to break up a winning roster didn't pay off and now Chandler is back.
When all the salaries are added up, Dallas will lose only about $3 million of cap space with this trade. With Nowitzki, a free agent, apparently willing to take a pay cut, the Mavs could make a run at Anthony or James. If that doesn't work out, Luol Deng or Pau Gasol are likely targets.
The Knicks trimmed this year's payroll slightly and got rid of Felton, who wasn't working out. The downside is Calderon has a long-term deal that runs through 2017.
Reader @singal3 brought up an interesting point. With Chandler gone, would the Knicks be more willing to take Carlos Boozer in a sign-and-trade for Anthony? Well, no team is anxious to take on Boozer's $16.8 million salary. The Bulls could help New York free more cap space in 2015, though, by taking back J.R. Smith, who's signed for two more years.
A sign-and-trade of Anthony and Smith for Boozer, the Bulls' non-guaranteed deals, their first-round draft picks, Mike Dunleavy and $3.3 million in cash is probably a scenario too good to be true for the Bulls.
But there is some benefit for the Knicks if Anthony tells them he wants to leave. Phil Jackson could get a couple draft picks in return, along with more cap space to sign 2015 free agents. The Bulls could just release Smith if they don't want him. Trading Boozer, rather than using the amnesty clause, would be huge for them.