Phil Jackson and the Knicks can offer him more money than any other team (max contract of five years, $129 million). Yet it’s possible he winds up leaving money on the table and heads to Chicago for a better chance at winning his first NBA championship.
In order to acquire Anthony, Chicago would have to use the amnesty provision on Carlos Boozer and perhaps make a few trades.
Although he’d take a pay cut by joining the Bulls, it would be a wise decision for 'Melo. He would have the opportunity to play for an elite coach in Tom Thibodeau and be able to team with Joakim Noah, the league’s best all-around center.
But more importantly, he could form a stellar one-two punch with Rose, who will hopefully return at full strength next season.
Never Fear, Much-Needed Scoring Is Here
Saying the Bulls struggle to score is an understatement. They finished the regular season last in the league with a forgettable 93.7 points per game. And they produced just 69 points during their Game 5 loss to the Washington Wizards.
Imagine this current squad (minus Boozer) with a healthy Rose and Anthony leading the way.
At his best, Rose is easily one of the game’s most unstoppable scorers. He put up 25 points a night during his sensational 2010-11 MVP campaign.
Rose showed signs of rust this season during his brief 10-game stint. But he certainly came to life during the huge 16-point victory over the Indiana Pacers back in November. He dropped 20 points on the Central Division rivals and knocked down six of his 11 three-point attempts.
With Rose playing only 49 games over the past three seasons, some people don’t believe he’ll ever stay healthy again and return to megastar form. But don’t count this guy out.
Meanwhile, Anthony knows a thing or two about scoring as well. Not only is he one of the game’s top scorers today, he’s one of the best the NBA has ever seen.
The former Syracuse star can drop 30 points in his sleep and has shredded defenses nightly since his arrival 11 years ago.
This past January, Anthony scored a mind-boggling 62 points on the Charlotte Bobcats, a Madison Square Garden record.
Chicago definitely needed someone like that during their series with the Wizards. Instead of losing 4-1, it may have been the other way around had 'Melo been in the fold.
One would think a D-Rose-'Melo combo couldn't exist since there's only one ball. While both players love to score, Rose could take the back set and allow Anthony to be the top option.
Bleacher Report’s John Dorn made a good point regarding Anthony:
First, a 'Melo-led offense requires strong point guard play. Without a wise eye at the point, the ball tends to stick in Anthony's hands, thus ruining offensive flow. This is something he has demonstrated over the course of his career, but has been extremely evident this past season.
Since Rose is one of the game’s best point guards, there’s no reason the pairing shouldn’t work out in Chi-Town.
They Would Make Bulls Instant Title Contenders
The Bulls entered the season labeled as title contenders. And that made a bunch of sense, knowing Rose was back in the lineup after missing the entire 2012-13 campaign.
Unfortunately, their championship dreams were quickly squashed, as Rose suffered a torn meniscus and Luol Deng was later traded for next to nothing.
Although the overachieving Bulls wound up winning 48 games behind Noah's MVP caliber of play, they never really regained their title contender status.
But a Rose-Anthony duo could help change things next year.
Add those two offensive machines to a lineup that includes Defensive Player of the Year Noah, Taj Gibson (if he isn’t traded) and Jimmy Butler, and you have a championship-caliber starting five.
The Bulls are an elite defensive squad, which is why they landed the No. 4 seed instead of becoming a draft lottery participant.
While Rose is a decent defender, Anthony isn’t the world’s greatest when it comes to that category. OK, let’s be honest, defense just isn’t his cup of tea.
Luckily, you don't have to be a lockdown, suffocating defender to flourish in Thibodeau's system. Guys like Nate Robinson and D.J. Augustin survived, right?
Anthony spoke about this, per Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
Thibs is a great coach, his system kind of reminds me of Gregg Popovich’s system.
You put anybody in that system and it’s going to work. That’s what they’ve been doing. They’ve had guys sitting out all season long, guys that’s been in and out of the lineups and they seem to get it done.
If Rose can avoid the injured list and Anthony continues to be the offensive force he has always been, the Bulls can beat anybody.
They would emerge as a balanced team instead of being known for just their defense.
Can a Rose-Anthony duo coexist? Yes, and if they do happen to join forces, championship banner No. 7 may not be far away.
All stats are from Basketball-Reference and accurate as of April 30, 2014.