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updated: 2/15/2014 8:45 PM

Bulls not likely to make any changes soon

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  • Bulls center Joakim Noah, guarding the Nets' Paul Pierce, is not likely to be in any trade for the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, if the Bulls even have any interest in Anthony at all.

      Bulls center Joakim Noah, guarding the Nets' Paul Pierce, is not likely to be in any trade for the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony, if the Bulls even have any interest in Anthony at all.
    Associated Press

 
 

Plenty of changes are on the horizon for the Bulls, but none are likely to happen before Thursday's NBA trade deadline.

There are several reasons why the Bulls figure to stay quiet for now -- mainly luxury tax, lack of tradable assets and a preference for waiting until after the snow melts.

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The Bulls are roughly $650,000 below the league's luxury-tax threshold and would like to stay there. That's why they didn't sign Cartier Martin or Mike James (yet) for the rest of the season.

By avoiding the luxury tax this year, the Bulls are hoping to avoid the "repeater" penalties if they become big spenders in the future.

Obviously, they're not going to make a trade that adds to the payroll. They could dump Mike Dunleavy for a draft pick, but why bother?

He's signed through next season at a relative bargain price ($3 million), so it makes more sense to keep Dunleavy around for the Derrick Rose re-return.

Any talk that the Bulls might trade for New York's Carmelo Anthony -- or even try -- is far-fetched. Unless someone is willing to take Carlos Boozer in return, the Bulls aren't making any big deals.

And remember, only the Bulls can use the amnesty clause to erase Boozer's $16.8 million salary from next season's salary cap and luxury tax.

If he's traded, his new team can't use it. In other words, no team is going to take Boozer unless the Bulls take back a ton of salary. Not happening.

Anthony makes $21.5 million this season, so unless the Knicks are getting Derrick Rose (no) or Boozer (no), the Bulls would have to use Joakim Noah in a trade for Anthony to make the salaries match, and that's not likely to happen.

I'm not sure the Bulls are interested in Anthony at all. Maybe Anthony could give them a better chance to win, but a team of scrappy fan favorites fills the seats, and the Bulls may not be willing to mess with that formula.

Anyway, chasing Anthony would make more sense this summer, when he can opt out of his contract, become a free agent and have the freedom to choose a new home.

There are some interesting names rumored to be on the trading block, though. Consider Philadelphia's Evan Turner. He's a Chicago native, No. 2 overall pick in 2010, athletic 6-feet-7, averaging 17.5 points this season and reportedly is very attainable.

He's an interesting guy, but most NBA teams are reluctant to make a move now, because it would require an $8.7 million qualifying offer to keep Turner from becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer, and that's a big commitment for a wildly inconsistent young player.

Turner will be a better gamble when his rookie contract expires. Then maybe he'd fit into that Los Angeles Lakers strategy of signing a guy after he gets his growing pains out of the way somewhere else.

Some of these teams looking to unload players now are trying to position themselves for more lottery chances. So the same players figure to be less attainable in the summer.

As it stands today, the Bulls would have the Nos. 15 (from Charlotte) and 19 picks in the draft, along with some cap space. Even if they're able to sign Nikola Mirotic, as expected, they'll be in position to make some roster additions this summer.

mmcgraw@dailyherald.com

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