Bulls have options after Carmelo trade; Rockets get relief

It does not appear as if free-agent forward Carmelo Anthony is headed for a union with the Lakers.

Carmelo Anthony isn’t expected to ever suit up for the Chicago Bulls following a trade with the Houston Rockets, reported Monday.

But the Bulls can get some good mileage out of Anthony, and Anthony out of the Bulls.

It’s no secret that Anthony wants to continue his playing career. He has been linked mostly to good friend LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. But others are also said to be at least somewhat interested, including the Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons and New Orleans Pelicans.

Teams not often mentioned but that might have some interest, according to several sources — the San Antonio Spurs and Portland Trail Blazers.

As for the Bulls, they can immediately waive the 10-time All-Star forward, or hold onto him in search of another trade at the Feb. 7 deadline.

“They also could try to package him if it means taking on another player with an expiring contract and adding another draft pick,” Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote“The Bulls have been trying to trade center Robin Lopez and forward Jabari Parker, but sources indicated the market was quiet for both players.”

Anthony averaged 13.4 points in just 10 games with the Rockets. He is said to be willing to come off the bench and be an occasional scorer at the tender old basketball age of 34. For better or worse, that will surely interest some playoff contenders.

Meanwhile, the Rockets made the deal for the luxury-tax break it provided.

“Once the trade can become official, Anthony will go to the Bulls along with cash in an exchange of draft rights to players unlikely to ever be with either team. The Rockets will receive the draft rights to Tadijia Dragicevic. The Bulls will receive the rights to Marko Todorovic,” Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle explained.

“The Bulls, as with trade with the Rockets this season to take on the salary of Michael Carter-Williams, intend to release Anthony, making him a free agent. By dealing, rather than waiving Anthony, the Rockets will save roughly $2.65 million in luxury taxes, but they will send cash to the Bulls to offset the team portion of his salary this season.”