Written By: Matt Vereb

Going into the 2010 Off-Season, the New York Knicks will have only 19M committed to players. Two teams have similar salary structures heading into next season, the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat. These teams present the most competition for premium talent heading into next season.

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls have $31 Million committed to players heading into the 2010-2011 season. The team will return a core of players featuring Guards Kirk Hinrch, Derrick Rose, James Johnson and Taj Gibson, Forward Luol Deng, and Center Joahkim Noah. Given the current salary cap before tax at $69.9 million this season, The Bulls will have roughly $38 million to spend this off-season. The Bulls will need a Shooting Guard to fill the void left by Ben Gordon and an athletic Power Forward.

Their #1 Target? Miami Heat Guard, Dwyane Wade. Wade has a Player Option for $17.1 million next season that he will opt-out of. (Wade can earn a max-contract of $21 million/season). Wade is from the Mid-West, so the Bulls are a definite fit for Wade. He has made it known that he has interesting in returning to his roots. Pairing Wade with PG Derrick Rose would create arguably the best backcourt in the NBA. Their #2 Target? Current Knicks PF David Lee. An athletic 4 would fit perfectly in the Bulls system.

Imagine a lineup consisting of Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, David Lee, and Joahkim Noah. Hinrich(9mil over 2 years) would become expendable to the team. That team could become the premiere team in the East.

Miami Heat

The Miami Heat have only $7 Million committed to players heading into the 2010-2011 season, given that Wade opts out of his contract. Michael Beasley and Daequan Cook would be the only committed dollars to the team. I don’t expect the team to pick up team options on James Jones($4 million), but Mario Chalmers ($800K) will probably be picked up.

Their #1 Target? Retaining Shooting Guard, Dwyane Wade. The Heat will offer Wade whatever he wants. He may even receive a majority stake in South Beach. We can also assume that Suns Power Forward, Amare Stoudemire will opt out of his contract. Wade was begging the team to acquire Stoudemire at the trade deadline, but complications stymied the deal. Raptors Power Forward Chris Bosh and Hawks Guard/Forward Joe Johnson may also be a fit for the team.

The Wildcard? If Wade resigns, he may be able to lure LeBron James to Miami.

The Heat have a lot of different options going into this offseason, but re-signing Wade is the team’s #1 priority.

These two teams will provide the most competiton with the Knicks this off-season. LeBron James will receive offers from Cleveland, Miami, New York, and Detroit. Assuming James goes back to Cleveland, the Knicks will have a tough time getting Dwyane Wade.

Expect the Knicks to target Joe Johnson and a Power Forward. Resigning David Lee should also be a priority for the team. The Hawks will have $47 million committed to players going into next season. Johnson will most likely get a max-offer from Atlanta as well.  It will be a very interesting and competitive off-season.

What do you think of these scenarios?