The NBA rumor mill is abuzz with talk that the Bulls might make a run at Carmelo Anthony this off-season. In order to do that, they'll have to clear salary off their books. NBA talking heads have basically treated it as a given that Chicago will amnesty Carlos Boozer if they want to make a splash in free agency. I'm not convinced that's going to happen.
Paying Carlos Boozer up to $16 million not to play for his team next year doesn't fit with the ownership history of Jerry Reinsdorf. In recent years, the Bulls have let Omer Asik, Marco Belinelli, and Nate Robinson walk and traded Kyle Korver and Luol Deng away to avoid the luxury tax. Last season was the first time they were a tax payer, going over by just shy of $4 million in a year they raked in a $52 million profit. They've consistently been among both the most profitable and most parsimonious franchises in the league throughout Reinsdorf's ownership going all the way back to the Jordan era when Reinsdorf frequently butted heads with Pippen, Jordan, and Phil Jackson (among many others) over their salaries.
Reinsdorf's history leads me to believe that Boozer is far more likely to be traded than amnestied if Chicago decides to be active in free agency this coming off-season. If he is traded, the 76ers make the most sense as a destination. After this season, Boozer will have one year and $16.8 million remaining on his contract and the Sixers will have roughly $30 million in salary cap space. Such a trade would significantly limit Sam Hinkie's ability to make a run at potential free agents like Greg Monroe, Gordon Hayward, and Lance Stephenson, so it would require some compensation.
Golden State faced a similar situation to this last off-season and ended up trading two future first and three second round picks to Utah in order to clear $24 million in salary, enabling them to sign Andre Iguodala. The price won't be that high to move Boozer since he makes less and can still play, but I think some sort of draft compensation would be headed to the team that absorbs his contract. Chicago is flush with draft picks. They own first round picks with varying degrees of protection from Sacramento, Charlotte, and Cleveland over the next few years in addition to their own.
So, Liberty Ballers folks, what do you think about all of this? Are some protected picks worth tying up that much salary next season? Is an off-season Boozer trade even likely or am I misreading the situation?