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NBA Free Agency Rumors: Waiting for an official Melo word, and LeBron

Nate Shron

Reportedly Carmelo Anthony is going back to New York. Given the source, and that it was the most expected outcome all along, this seems very likely to be made official as early as today.

The Bulls haven't been told as much yet, so they're not officially out. As much as I am skeptical of their competence, I don't doubt the Org. at least been working on non-Melo contingency plans all along, while still waiting for their "dinner connection" to win Melo's heart (over his wallet).

The one fallback option at the forefront seems to be Pau Gasol. KC Johnson has more:

league sources indicated the Bulls hope to pursue sign-and-trade options with the Lakers for Pau Gasol involving Carlos Boozer's expiring salary. The window to use the amnesty provision on Boozer's salary officially opened at 11:01 p.m. Wednesday. But the Bulls all along have been trying to trade him, not only to relieve themselves of their financial commitment to him but more to stay above the salary cap. This would allow them to use exceptions to sign other players.

As depressing as it sounds, KC is right that a lack of Amnesty on Boozer may not be just because to save paying him to play somewhere else, but that keeping the exceptions (instead of going under the cap after Amnesty) may be beneficial. Maybe. You can twist yourself into this logic, which reminds me of Kelly Dwyer's saying (usually when predicting the Bulls wouldn't use Amnesty), the Bulls are so good at this.

The idea of using Boozer's contract to acquire Gasol seems like a pipe dream though, as outside of including at least a first-round pick I don't see why the Lakers bother taking on Boozer's salary even if it's expiring. As we see time and time again, most recently Wednesday with the Celtics, the Lakers could 'rent' their cap space to facilitate 3-way trades and get a lot of value. More value than a nearly $17m contract to Carlos Boozer, anyway.

No matter the next step, it looks like we're still waiting on Melo to officially give the word. And then hopefully we can find out more about what happened. I may be looking forward to that more than whatever the Bulls move on towards.