LeBron to Chicago, with Chris Bosh. Teamed with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. A force in the NBA for the next decade.
That is unquestionably how it is going down, right? Except, there are a few questions.
Starting with: Would Bulls onwer Jerry Reinsdorf be willing to pay the price for it? Does LeBron James want to trust the man who broke up the dynasty Bulls because of cost?
Short term it’s not so bad. These first two years, with Rose and Noah under their rookie deals, the entire foursome (James, Bosh, Rose and Noah) would cost the Bulls in the $42 million range. Keep Luol Deng on the team and it is more like $53 million for five players (which it is likely Deng goes out on a sign-and-trade),
That price tag will climb fast. Noah will start a new deal in two years and likely be paid in the $8 million range, if not by Chicago then by someone else.
Then will come the Rose deal one year after Noah. Likely a max or near max deal.
That will mean $58 million or more tied up in four players (depending on the salaries and raises). That would be above the salary cap next year. For four players. To fill out the roster with some decent role players so they can win will mean much more. The Lakers roster last season was $91 million, meaning basically a $24 million luxury tax payment on top of it. The Bulls could easily be in that ballpark and under the new CBA the taxes could be higher.
Will the notoriously frugal Reinsdorf pay that? This is the man that said he “knew he would regret” signing Michael Jordan to his last big contract. A man willing to break up a legendary sports dynasty because it was too expensive.
Is he willing to pay to keep LeBron James surrounded with winning talent? Because for all the problems with the Knicks offer, their willingness to spend is not a question.