First, I’d like to thank everyone for their feedback on the “The Melo Plan: How the Bulls will sign Carmelo Anthony." As a result of that story, I see fans asking a lot of the same questions I believe are worth addressing.
Is it possible for Derrick Rose to restructure his current contract to take less money so Anthony can join?
This seems to be a very common belief. After all, Jay Cutler has seemingly restructured his contract a dozen times, and LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are rumored to be discussing taking less money to open more cap space for Pat Riley. Unfortunately, no, Rose cannot restructure his contract to give the Bulls more cap space. NBA contracts are guaranteed and even if Rose (and the Bulls) wanted to, the players union would step in and effectively say, “no chance”. The reason that LeBron can do it is because he is actually not changing his contract; he has an opt-out clause that, if used, makes him an unrestricted free agent. As a free agent, he is then able to do what he wants in any new deal. So while it may seem that Miami’s Big Three are “restructuring” their deals, in reality that’s not the case.
Could dumping Tony Snell help?
To answer the question, yes, trading Snell for a second round draft pick is possible, and doing so would give the Bulls approximately another $1 million in cap space. But I did not include Tony Snell on my list of options for a couple of reasons. First, I believe the Bulls front office still believes in Snell, that he can be a contributing rotation player on a playoff caliber team. Second, and perhaps even more importantly, the Bulls have Snell under a very financial friendly deal for the next four seasons. General managers absolutely love contributing players still in their rookie deals. Jimmy Butler, meanwhile, is only under contract for two more seasons, and if the team believes they will not be able to re-sign him after he becomes a free agent it makes more sense from a financial perspective to include him rather than Snell. Butler also has a bigger cap hit next year, and it would give the Bulls more money for Anthony vs. Snell. Could they trade both? Sure, but how much turnover do they want to bring in Anthony?
How did you get $13 million for Carlos Boozer’s salary? Every place I read it's $16.8 million.
Yes, Carlos Boozer’s salary next season is $16.8 million. But using the amnesty provision on Boozer only creates $13 million in cap space. They’re over the cap and have two first round draft picks (as of this moment). Both picks' salaries count against the cap regardless if the players are signed.
Will the “Derrick Rose Rule” keep Anthony from Chicago?
It doesn’t help, that’s for certain. Larry Coon has a great explanation of the CBA here and he can explain it much better than I can. But essentially, the “Rose Rule” was a provision put into the last NBA collective bargaining agreement that allowed exceptional players coming off their rookie contracts to get veteran max deals. It’s called the “Rose Rule” because the players' union believed that a young player winning the MVP should qualify him for more money in a maximum deal. To qualify for the “Rose Rule,” a player has to achieve one of the following three criteria: Be named to the All-NBA First, Second or Third team at least twice, be voted as a starter in the All-Star game at least twice, or be named the NBA Most Valuable Player at least once.
Players coming off their rookie contracts were originally only able to receive a max of 25 percent of the salary cap; the “Rose Rule” made it so certain players could get 30 percent of the salary cap. Essentially, Rose winning the MVP is costing the Bulls approximately $3 million in cap space this summer. Fans should not be angry at Rose for this, he had nothing to do with the provision being nicknamed after him. I don’t think $3 million will be the difference in signing Anthony or not, but that is certainly cap space the Bulls wish they had right now.
Can the Bulls do a sign-and-trade with the Knicks to get Anthony?
Yes, and really the team would prefer to trade Boozer rather than use the amnesty on him. But the biggest obstacle in a sign-and-trade is the Knicks themselves: Why would they *want* to help the Bulls get Anthony? You may recall, James going to Miami ultimately ended up being a sign-and-trade because the Cavs realized that it would be better to get something for LeBron rather than losing him for nothing. Perhaps Phil Jackson will help his friend John Paxson out by taking a couple future first round draft picks in a sign-and-trade, but I just can’t see any reason why they would take Boozer. They already have two power forwards on their roster in Andrea Bargnani and Amare Stoudemire. Why add a third? The catch is that the Bulls may tell Jackson that the only way they will do a sign-and-trade with draft picks is to send Boozer. Who blinks first?