What the team has done this season has been nothing short of incredible. Former MVP Derrick Rose was injured just 10 games into the year, which was followed by leading scorer Luol Deng being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, the squad held it together and is now ready to host a playoff series. This has earned Tom Thibodeau plenty of praise for his coaching job, considered by some to be the league's Coach of the Year:
NBA ROY: Victor Oladipo Defensive POY: Joakim Noah Most Improved: Goran Dragic Coach of the yr: Tom Thibodeau @ESPNNBA— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) April 15, 2014
With Thibodeau consistently producing winners and Rose returning next season, the Bulls will once again be a top contender for an NBA title. However, they have been in this position before without being able to get over the top. Chicago needs another elite player to ensure that it can compete with the best teams in the league.
The star player the team needs is Carmelo Anthony, a small forward who is just one year removed from leading the NBA in scoring.
Anthony has certainly displayed interest in making the move to Chicago. According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the All-Star recently asked a Bulls player about what it was like to play for Thibodeau.
Isola continues that the Bulls remain a top contender to sign Anthony, along with the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets. However, Chicago continues to remain an intriguing option for the talented player.
According to Ian Begley of ESPN New York, Anthony continued his praise of the Bulls coach in saying:
Thibs [Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau] is a great coach. His system kind of reminds me of [Spurs coach] Gregg Popovich’s system. You put anybody in that system and it’s going to work. And that’s what they’ve been doing. They had guys who have been sitting out all season long, guys [have] been in and out the lineup, and they seem to get it done.
The exciting thing for Bulls fans is that the feeling is mutual. Joakim Noah has already discussed how much Anthony would improve the current roster, and now Thibs is getting into the act. The Bulls coach talked about how much better the wing would be on a good team, via Harvey Araton of The New York Times:
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.
It’s interesting, a lot of the things that you hear about him, I heard about Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce before they came together and won it. That changes perception. Carmelo has been one of the elite scorers in the league for a long, long time.
It is clear that Thibodeau is not afraid of Anthony slowing down the offense. Instead, he is someone who can become a go-to scorer on a team that has lacked this type of ability for a long time.
Chicago is consistently a great defensive team that has good secondary scorers. Even with a healthy Rose, the team never had a go-to player who can score on anyone. That is what Anthony can provide, which will help a lot throughout the season and especially in the playoffs.
All of a sudden, a team that is usually in the hunt can finally get past the Miami Heat and others and win a title.
At this point, the biggest question remains what it will take to bring Anthony to Chicago. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune is not hopeful, but reports that the team will try to do a sign-and-trade to complete a deal:
The Bulls structured late-season signings with non-guaranteed options to build inventory for a possible match with a larger salary. That means the Bulls will exhaust the Anthony sign-and-trade possibilities to the end, though it remains for now in the long-shot category.
This could allow Anthony to get the most money possible, which is likely one of the bigger draws of him staying in New York. It will also allow the Knicks to ease off based on the ability to bring back something in return.
The Bulls will certainly have a lot of competition for the services of one of the best players in the league. However, they offer the best combination of a big market and the chance to win a championship immediately.
With this perfect match, the front office has to do whatever it takes to ensure that a deal gets completed.
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