I am someone who is obsessed with the offseason; unhealthily obsessed. I'm assuming a lot of you are in the same boat. So, I'm not the only one here who has thought about all the options the Bulls have this offseason to improve and add some pieces. The two big pieces are Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony. I have read and discussed about which the Bulls should go after or who is the better fit. Then, by some cruel fate, I came upon a few posts that suggested that the Bulls could possibly acquire both Kevin Love AND Carmelo Anthony.
This led me to the next logical step: spend the next 15 hours thinking of all the ways this could possibly happen!
Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. But, with lots of knowledge gleaned (i.e. stolen) from the many Bulls reporters, bloggers, and fans, I came up with an impossible scenario (or close to it, say, 1.7% or so?); one that has kept me up at night giddy with optimism.
Now, I should mention that I don't have a lot of knowledge about the NBA rules and CBA, except those that I have learned over that past few years on the internet. So it's possible that this scenario is a complete waste of time and wouldn't actually work in real life. But, hey, it works on the trade machine, and that's all that matters to me.
I included the 76ers just to clear the salaries of Hinrich, Augustin, and Mohammed.
The trade is listed above, minus the picks the Bulls will need to include, so feel free to stop reading or follow the bolded words and bullets if you wish, ‘cause this is probably gonna be really long-winded (in case you didn't figure that out yet). But I'm also going to throw out some ideas for filling the roster after this trade, since it only leaves the Bulls with Rose, Noah, Snell, and Smith from last year's team.
Trade 1 (Sign & Trade for Carmelo Anthony):
New York Knicks receive:
- Carlos Boozer, rights to Nikola Mirotic, and the unguaranteed contracts of Ronnie Brewer, Lou Admundson, and Mike James; it also includes the No. 19 pick, and some second round picks.
Chicago Bulls receive:
- Carmelo Anthony
Boozer and the unguaranteed contracts make the money work, and Mirotic and the No. 19 pick make the Knicks consider this trade. Even the second round picks have some value to the pick-starved Knicks. The Bulls obviously love this because they get Melo.
Trade 2 (Trade for Kevin Love):
Minnesota Timberwolves receive:
- Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler, Mike Dunleavy, No. 16 pick (from Charlotte), 2015 Bulls' first round pick, and Kings protected first round pick.
Chicago Bulls receive:
- Kevin Love, Kevin Martin
Minnesota gets 3 good players on very good value contracts, one of which is the young Butler who has nice potential. They also receive the mid-first round pick for this year in a deep draft, a future Bulls pick, and the Kings future pick, although it is up in the air whether the Kings improve enough to avoid them turning into two second round picks. The Bulls get Love and Martin, who I have seen involved in trade speculation recently. I think Martin is an extremely good contract at only $6.5M/year for a guy that averages 17.9 in his career, shot nearly 39% from 3 last year, and still scored 14 ppg on a talented OKC team in ‘12-'13.
That leaves the Bulls with a starting line-up of Rose, Martin, Anthony, Love, and Noah, which I think is the best starting line-up in the NBA, even if the Heat have LeBron. They also have Tony Snell, who has potential to be a good defensive player and 3-point shooter at SG or SF, and Greg Smith, who is also a decent player both ways at either PF or C.
Fill the Roster with MMLE and veteran minimum contracts:
Assuming Anthony doesn't take a big pay-cut, the Bulls are now in the luxury tax, meaning no full MLE or the BAE. They still are allowed the Mini-MLE, which is around $3.278M for the '14-'15 season, and veteran's minimum contracts to get the Bulls to the minimum amount of 13 players.
The starting line-up is full of star power. However, it has a flaw: only Noah is known to be at least an above average defender. So, with the only other contract that won't be for the minimum, I suggest using it on a player who is a good defender. A guy I would like is Shawn Marion, although he would have to take a pretty drastic pay-cut to sign with this title contending team. I like this fit, because, even though he is already 36, he has shown that he has the capability to guard and contain LeBron James. It's possible, and so I'm including him in my dream scenario.
Veteran's Minimum Contracts:
This leaves the Bulls with 8 players, and 5 spots to fill with veteran's minimum players. These are more of suggestions, and obviously these guys could be switched with a number of players.
I know this suggestion will rile up some of the members on this site, so I'll get it out of the way first:
- Sign PG Kirk Hinrich
I know a lot of people are sick of Hinrich on the Bulls. But, he provides a somewhat reliable option at PG, can play some minutes at SG, and is also an above-average defender at 2 spots, which the Bulls will need. Another plus is he won't cost $4M this time.
- Sign PG Aaron Brooks
I included him simply because he is a volume-scoring PG. We've seen how the Bulls have continually had success with these types of players: CJ Watson, John Lucas III, Nate Robinson, DJ Augustin. It also gives depth at PG, especially if something were to happen to Rose again. This could easily be another volume-scoring PG or even Augustin, but I doubt he would accept the minimum.
- Sign SG Anthony Morrow
Morrow would provide the Bulls with a very important skill; he is one of the top 3-point shooters in the game. Other than that, he doesn't have many other good skills, although I believe he is an underrated athlete and defender.
- Sign C Emeka Okafor
He's old, and he missed last year with an injury. But he is a good defender and has been a good player for quite some time. The Bulls have also seemed to lean towards old, veteran centers, like Nazr Mohammed and Kurt Thomas (and rumored interest in Marcus Camby all of last year).
- Sign PF Jason Smith
This is for some more depth for the bigs, especially since all 4 currently have had some pretty serious recent injury history. It would also be helpful to have another big besides Kevin Love to be able to space out the floor a little with his mid-range jumper.
Final Bulls Roster:
- PG: Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Aaron Brooks
- SG: Kevin Martin, Anthony Morrow
- SF: Carmelo Anthony, Shawn Marion, Tony Snell
- PF: Kevin Love, Jason Smith
- C: Joakim Noah, Emeka Okafor, Greg Smith
This plan would be a total overhaul of the Bulls roster. But, I think it would create the most talented team in the entire NBA.