Editor's note: In our Hot Button scenario, we are assuming the Bulls will use the amnesty clause on Carlos Boozer and keep their draft pick and the Charlotte pick. That would leave about $11 million in cap space, according to ESPN capologist Larry Coon. To sign Carmelo Anthony, the Bulls would have to shed Taj Gibson's $8 million salary as well as Mike Dunleavy's $3 million. Nikola Mirotic likely will command $7 million to $8 million to be lured over from Spain. Lance Stephenson is expected to command $10 million to $12 million per year as a free agent this summer.
He has the ability that so many other players crave. He can score 30 points almost any time he desires. He creates space for his teammates and could take pressure off Derrick Rose as he tries to come back a second time from knee surgery.
Is Anthony the best fit to play alongside Rose? Probably not. Like Rose, Anthony wants the ball in his hands a lot, and he has plenty of critics who believe he's not a team-first player.
But in his only college season, Anthony led Syracuse to a national championship. Count me in the group that believes Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau can make Melo the best all-around player he's ever been. Anthony's scoring prowess would also take a significant amount of pressure off Rose as he makes his way back. Over time, the pair should be able to work together to become one of the most potent scoring duos in the league.
The only drawback to the Anthony-to-the-Bulls scenario is that it would almost certainly mark the end of Taj Gibson's tenure because of how the salary cap shakes out. Gibson has been playing the best basketball of his career and would be a natural fill-in after the Bulls likely amnesty the final year of Carlos Boozer's deal.
Even that shouldn't stop the Bulls from doing everything they can to make Melo a Bull. He is the type of player the front office knows it has been missing since Thibodeau came to town. He's a clear-cut scoring superstar who can play off Rose.
Those types of players don't hit the market every day, and the Bulls would be wise to make this marriage a reality.
Nick Friedell covers the Bulls for ESPNChicago.com.