Trade rumors have been surrounding Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah that involve him being traded, along with some other pieces, for Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony. The most notable trade scenario involves Noah and Luol Deng for 'Melo.
Should the deal push through, the Bulls would boast a starting lineup of Derrick Rose, Ronnie Brewer, Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, and Kurt Thomas—a starting five that can shake things up in the Eastern Conference.
This particular starting lineup wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so small. The only other real player listed at center for the Bulls is Omer Asik, a rookie and also the Bulls' only seven-footer.
Center and power forward have become a vital position in the Eastern Conference, with Dwight Howard, Andrew Bogut, Amar'e Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, and Al Horford as a few All-Star caliber players at those positions. This will pose problems for a Bulls team whose starting five would peak at 6'9".
Now, Thomas and Boozer are serviceable enough on the defensive end, but aren't exactly what one would call stellar. The lack of a true shot-blocking presence inside combined with a relatively short front line won't cut it against good post players. This will force Chicago to double and trap constantly, leaving perimeter shooters open.
Also, this poses a rebounding problem. Thomas, Gibson, and Boozer are good rebounders, but none are at the level of Noah. This may force them into a gang rebound situation that may limit their fast break opportunities.
On offense, Chicago already has a do-it-all scorer in Derrick Rose. Rose is actually the best scoring point guard in the NBA today. Thus, Chicago does not really need another do-it-all scorer, namely Anthony. If I am right, Chicago's offensive sets will revolve around pick and roll situations with Rose and Boozer. The most effective pick and roll offenses need shooters out on the floor to help with the spacing.
Note that Anthony is a scorer, not a shooter. 'Melo prefers to take a shot off the dribble, not spotting up. Not only does this limit Anthony's looks, but it also limits Rose's options.
Also, offensive rebounding should be a concern. I will say it again: Thomas, Gibson, and Boozer are good rebounders, but none are at the level of Noah. Noah is an amazing offensive rebounder. Running multiple picks and screens will lead to a lot of switching by the defense, resulting in better chances for Noah to secure an offensive rebound.
Lastly, we have the intangibles that Noah brings to the Bulls. Joakim Noah is a hard-nosed, gritty, hustle player who fits with the Bulls' demeanor. He is a good man-defender and a good help-defender as well, which will likely result in becoming a favorite of coach Thibodeau, a defensive specialist.
He is also the Bulls' emotional leader, inspiring the team with both his words and his play. These kinds of players are invaluable to young teams, most especially title contenders.
Carmelo Anthony has yet to prove that he can lead a basketball team. And by that, I mean he isn't the kind of leader that can rally a team behind him through words. Anthony has always been an enigma when it comes to the leadership of the Nuggets. He only got better when Chauncey Billups assumed the speaking role in Denver, allowing him to focus on on-court production.
A trade to the Bulls will thrust him into the speaking and leading by example role again; something that only merited him multiple first-round playoff exits.
Quite obviously, there are a number of merits for the Bulls should they decide to pull the trigger on a 'Melo trade. However, I believe that the consequences that will be brought about by the trade off-sets the positives.The Bulls are built to win games and contend for the championship for at least six years.
In such a scenario, trading a young promising player isn't advisable, especially since Noah is already a proven player in the NBA despite his age and is a vital member of the Bulls' core.
You can't blame Denver for trying to get Noah on the table. Joakim Noah is a special player, the kind of player that won't grab the spotlight, but goes beyond what is expected of him in order to win. And with a clear Alpha Male in the Windy City, Noah is the kind of player Chicago needs in order to meet with success.