According to Marc Stein of ESPN, there are two avenues Chicago could take in order to acquire Anthony. One would involve a sign-and-trade, in which J.R. Smith has been named as a potential part of the package. And while sources tell Stein the Bulls will try vehemently to try and trade Boozer, there is a fallback option: the team could slap Boozer with the amnesty clause.
But here’s the thing: You continue to hear rumbles that Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is adamantly against the idea of setting Boozer free via amnesty, even though the 32-year-old is finally poised to enter the final year of his contract, valued in 2014-15 at $16.8 million.
Sources briefed on Chicago’s thinking say the Bulls are going to do everything they can to try to find a trading partner for Boozer before seriously considering the amnesty option.
Bear in mind that Chicago essentially has until July 15 to craft a deal that finds a new home for Boozer after a season in which he lost much of his fourth-quarter run to Taj Gibson. The NBA’s amnesty window this summer runs through July 10-16.
Boozer is set to make $16.8 million in the final year of his contract in 2014-15. He’s 32 years old, and has taken a back seat to the fast-rising Taj Gibson. If amnestied, Stein names the Los Angeles Lakers as a potential landing spot. Boozer and Lakers guard Kobe Bryant share Rob Pelinka as an agent.
It’s hard to imagine that the Knicks would help Chicago facilitate a deal for Anthony, who the team will make a push to retain this summer. The scenario only makes sense if New York is convinced Anthony does not want to be a part of the team.
According to multiple reports, the Knicks remain the frontrunners for Anthony, though the Bulls are surely a close second. The Bulls are quietly confident about their chances to land the All-Star forward, per Stein, and the projected $5 million rise in salary cap puts them in a better position financially to make a deal.