New York Knicks All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony will be one of the NBA’s most sought-after free agents during the 2014 offseason, and according to The Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson, rumors that the Chicago Bulls have significant interest in ‘Melo carry significant weight.
“It’s well-known in league circles that coach Tom Thibodeau would love to add Anthony,” Johnson wrote.
Perhaps that statement is a no-brainer, because just about every franchise around the league would love to add a scorer as proficient as ‘Melo—who took home the scoring title in 2013.
As Johnson notes, however, Thibs pointed out that the 29-year-old’s reputation as a ball-hogging isolation player has been greatly exaggerated.
“It’s interesting because with USA Basketball, they talk about him being a playmaker. He scores and if a guy is open, he passes the ball. I think oftentimes it’s who he plays with,” Thibodeau said, per Johnson.
The defensive-minded Coach of the Year candidate added comparisons to Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, who won a championship together with the Boston Celtics in 2008 after being “the man” in three different situations prior.
It appears that the respect between player and coach is mutual, as Anthony complimented Chicago’s coaching staff:
“(The Bulls) have a great coach and system,” the seven-time All-Star said, per Johnson. “It’s like Gregg Popovich’s system. You can put anyone in the system and it’s going to work. Guys have been in and out of the lineup and they still get it done.”
Despite persistent rumors that a “’Melo to Chicago” move is brewing, Bulls fans should temper their expectations.
B/R’s D.J. Foster wrote the following in March:
Even if Chicago uses the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer, it’ll still be well short of being able to offer Anthony a max contract. That hypothetical max offer, by the way, is already one year and $30 million short of what Anthony can get by staying in New York.
Foster added that the Bulls would likely have to trade Taj Gibson to free up additional cap space, while also keeping promising European prospect Nikola Mirotic overseas for another season.
There’s obviously mutual interest between these two parties, but Anthony fleeing New York for the Windy City still appears to be a pipe dream. At this point, it’s simply not financially feasible unless he takes a drastic pay cut.
If the veteran would rather earn max money, then staying in NY and hoping president of basketball operations Phil Jackson can make some magic happen is the No. 1 option.
From a basketball perspective—and the angle of winning a championship—Anthony should want to join forces with Thibodeau, Joakim Noah and the injury-prone Derrick Rose. His presence in that system would instantly make Chicago title contenders. But again, the financial factor presents an unavoidable obstacle.