For the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls, any help they can get to compete with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference is welcomed.
Phil Jackson and Co. were able to bring back superstar Carmelo Anthony, which will prove to be the crown jewel of what has been a superb offseason performance by the Hall of Famer. But some unexpected help from Anthony might just lead to a serious title race.
The Bulls have not had as much success, missing out on Anthony and overall failing to reel in a major star who can join Derrick Rose and a host of others to compete for a title. All hope is not lost, though, as recent moves hint at a bright future.
While at face value it appears the major developments are in the rearview mirror, there is still plenty of news making the rounds that fans will want to give attention. Remember, a few years ago nobody paid much mind when the San Antonio Spurs brought on Boris Diaw.
Live and learn.
Chandler Parsons to Dallas
The hesitation in Houston led to Dallas' gain in the end, as the team signed unheralded star Chandler Parsons to a contract, which the Rockets wound up not wanting to match, as the Florida product himself revealed on Twitter:
Keeping Parsons in town did not make a load of sense after the Rockets came to an agreement with Trevor Ariza, again per Wojnarowski.
For Dallas, paying the hefty price tag for Parsons is a great decision. He came out of his shell during the course of his tenure in Houston as the numbers show, and really, just how high his ceiling is remains to be seen.
|Chandler Parsons Career Stats|
Now, a Raymond Felton-Monta Ellis-Parsons-Dirk Nowitzki-Tyson Chandler lineup is not one that will strike fear into the hearts of most teams in the Western Conference, but Parsons' addition is one with a long-term plan in mind.
Not only that, but it also rips away a potential future superstar from a rival in the conference.
Bulls on the Hunt
So Anthony is out, but that has not stopped the front office in the Windy City from making a bevy of moves.
Gasol, easily the biggest get for the organization, took to Twitter:
He's not only elite on the offensive end of the court and the perfect complement to Joakim Noah in the paint, but Gasol also insures that Taj Gibson will continue his elite role off the bench as the sixth man. Statistically speaking, his averages of 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.5 blocks per game speak for themselves.
Bulls fans will, of course, be familiar with Hinrich, who has spent most of his career with the team. He'll yet again back up Rose, although his meager 9.4 points on 39.2 percent shooting and 3.9 assists per game last year show the 33-year-old guard is on the wrong side of the age spectrum.
Then there is Nikola Mirotic, who was the No. 23 pick in the 2011 draft but stayed in Spain for a few seasons before forcing his buyout. He also took to Twitter with the news (this is a thing, get used to it):
For a team that lost out on Anthony, it's hard to be fully excited. Chicago upgraded one spot, remained the same at another and grabbed a long-term project with a hefty price tag.
Perhaps that's not fair. After all, it is much better than sitting idly by, especially when the Bulls are not far off from contention if Rose can stay healthy. Even better, the front office clearly has an eye on the now-and-later aspect of team building.
If it wasn't clear before, it sure is now—Anthony wants to win a title.
After searching for a new home on the market and possibly, perhaps, maybe thinking about teaming with LeBron James, Anthony was left in the cold with no superstar to join and went back to New York.
Of course, that's a move that will prove very smart with Phil Jackson running the show. He has already shipped off dead weight, drafted promising rookies and done much to better the franchise's future financial situations.
As if to show he is fully on board in that last department, Anthony even took a pay cut in the early goings of his newest deal, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post:
Jackson confirmed The Post’s reports Anthony structured the deal to give the Knicks more cap space in 2015. It is believed he didn’t take his annual 7.5 percent raise in Year 2 and may have taken a tiny pay decrease. Under collective bargaining agreement rules, a player can receive as high as a 7.5 percent pay raise annually.
Don't scoff—Anthony could have just as easily been selfish and taken everything the front office has to offer. It's not like he doesn't deserve every penny.
“He did exactly what we kind of asked him to do,’’ Jackson said. “Give us a break in the early part of the contract when we have some wiggle room — hopefully big enough wiggle room — next year when we can exploit it.’’
"Exploit" being the operative word here, with players such as Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rajon Rondo headed for unrestricted free agency next offseason. It is not outlandish in any sense that those names, or others headed to the market, would prefer to not only pair up with Anthony under Jackson but do so in the basketball Mecca of the world.
Jackson is a savior for the Knicks in every sense of the word. Anthony's off-court contributions should not go unnoticed, especially if another superstar makes his way to town this time next year.