Why teams make trades like the Bulls' Carmelo Anthony deal
The Bulls officially acquired Carmelo Anthony from the Houston Rockets on Tuesday.
He is not expected to join the Bulls or suit up for any games. How long he stays on the roster remains to be seen.
As part of the exchange, the Bulls sent the draft rights to Serbian forward Tadija Dragicevic to the Rockets, while receiving the draft rights to former Ohio State shooting guard Jon Diebler and a reported $1.57 million in cash.
The feeling is the Bulls will hang onto Anthony and see if they can get anything for him in a trade before the Feb. 7 deadline. The Rockets are over the luxury tax and didn't want to take any players or salaries back in return.
The Bulls don't have those issues. There has been talk that Anthony has his eye on joining the Los Angeles Lakers, who do not have any open roster spots at the moment. Would the Lakers be willing to swap a young player like Mo Wagner or Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk to clear a place for Anthony? Probably not, but the Bulls can dream.
Anthony, 34, has had an unusual journey this season. When it was clear he wouldn't be back for a second season in Oklahoma City, the Thunder traded him to Atlanta for Dennis Schroder in what turned out to be a three-way deal involving Philadelphia. The Hawks agreed to a buyout and Anthony signed a minimum deal with the Rockets.
For whatever reason, things didn't work out in Houston. Anthony left the team and has been sitting on the roster since he last appeared in a game on Nov. 8. One of the last games Anthony played was at the United Center on Nov. 1 and he scored 17 points as the Rockets beat the Bulls.
The two international players involved in this trade are not expected to play in the NBA, but a trade has to include something from both sides. The Bulls probably wanted some international rights in return so they'll have it as a tradable piece for the future.
Why these trades happen:
This is the second time this season the Rockets have paid the Bulls to take a player off their hands. They did the same with Michael Carter-Williams, who was immediately waived on Jan. 7. Why do these trades happen, some may ask?
It's all about the Rockets trying to lower their luxury-tax bill. With a payroll approximately $8 million above the tax line, Houston must pay a tax of $1.75 for every dollar they are above the tax threshold.
If the Rockets had simply waived Anthony or Carter-Williams, they would still have to pay those salaries. By shipping them to the Bulls, their contracts are off the books. Houston can include a cash incentive for the Bulls to take these players and still save money, because the Rockets' luxury-tax bill drops.
The Bulls can obviously use the cash to pay the rest of the players' salaries. According to reports, the Bulls also netted a profit of $1.6 million in these two trades.
It's easy to joke about the Bulls being cheap, going back to when they sold a second-round draft pick in 2016 to Golden State for $3.5 million. But keep in mind, the Bulls essentially bought a first-round pick from New Orleans last year for roughly $14 million, the amount owed on Omer Asik's contract. They used that pick to select Chandler Hutchison.
Dunn given flagrant:
The NBA announced a foul committed by Kris Dunn in the Denver game last week was upgraded to a flagrant 1. The foul, against Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, occurred with 6:57 left in the third quarter.
There aren't really any consequences. NBA players face a one-game suspension after accumulating 16 technical fouls, but there's no regular-season penalty for flagrant foul buildup.