As expected, Carmelo Anthony decided to exercise his early termination option for next season, allowing him forward to hit unrestricted free agency July 1.
Anthony will have many suitors, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Houston Rockets and Chicago Bulls. He can sign a maximum contract worth $129 million over five years with the Knicks or a maximum deal worth $96 million over four years with another team, but he is leaning towards leaving New York to accept less than a maximum contract to help the team that he signs with attract additional free agents.
Right now many insiders believe that Anthony will likely sign with the Bulls, who have expressed interest in him for a while, and with good reason. Anthony is a good fit for the Bulls. The Chicago offense struggled without Derrick Rose in the lineup, and Carmelo Anthony’s talent on offense ranks among the best in the league. Anthony would also fill a notable void in the starting lineup, as the Bulls traded long-time starting small forward Luol Deng to save money last season.
Assuming that Derrick Rose returns healthy, Anthony, Rose and Joakim Noah would give the Bulls three present and former All-NBA players.
Anthony averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists with the Knicks last season and numbers like that are exactly what the Bulls need, as they haven’t had a go-to wing scorer since Michael Jordan.
The Bulls allowed just 91.8 points per game last season (1st in the NBA), but they only averaged 93.7 points per game (30th in the league).
When healthy, Derrick Rose is one of the most explosive players in the league, but because of his size he goes through stretches of being unable to find quality shots. He won the MVP trophy in 2011 but the Bulls faced the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals and lost the series 4-1. The Bulls won the first game at home but would lose four straight, averaging just 83 points per game over those four contests. The biggest reason was a lack of a true go-to wing scorer, like Anthony, someone who could get his own shot whenever the offense struggled. Anthony’s ability to score could be the missing piece for the Bulls to win their seventh championship.