Here's a story from not too long ago.
Just before the 2007-2008 season, the Chicago Bulls front office made a silly mistake. One that caused the team to fall apart, Scott Skiles to be fired and the organization to fall back into the lottery.
That mistake, of course, was engaging in heated talks with the Los Angeles Lakers about acquiring Kobe Bryant. The players involved in the trade, such as Luol Deng, got off to a bad start and the team faltered as a result.
Oh, how history has a way of repeating itself.
Once again it seems the speculation about where Carmelo Anthony will land is centering in Chicago around its franchise center: Joakim Noah. Of course, Deng and Taj Gibson have also been tossed around in trade rumors, but neither are as integral to the Bulls' 2010-2011 plans as Noah.
From the way he sounded recently, these trade talks are taking a toll on him.
And if that happens, it's definitely going to take a toll on the Bulls to start the season.
Chicago already has enough to deal with. A new head coach, several new faces and expectation through the roof despite not landing any of the Miami Thrice.
The last thing they need is a distracted Noah. Or Deng and Gibson for that matter.
Those three guys figure to be among the six or seven most important players on this franchise. They have worked hard this offseason and seem to have bought into Tom Thibodeau's system and philosophy.
So the question obviously becomes: Should the Bulls blow up what they have one more time to land Anthony?
I'll admit, I wrote an article earlier in the summer about why Carmelo was the key to taking down LeBron James and the Miami Heat (Anthony actually tweeted that link).
Well, I'm changing my position on this. At least if it involves Noah.
Trade Deng. Trade Gibson. Trade Johnson. Trade a first-round pick or two. I don't care. Just don't, under any circumstances, give up Noah.
Truth be told, Anthony is not even that great. ESPN had an article earlier in the summer about why Carmelo's numbers are actually inflated. He takes a very high volume of shots, and he also plays in one of the fastest offenses in the league.
Noah will quietly produce a double-double night after night while still remaining the fourth or fifth option on offense. Derrick Rose should be the go-to guy on this team. With Anthony on the squad, there's no chance Rose remains the top dog.
Here's what needs to be done: John Paxson and Gar Forman need to issue a statement saying that the Bulls organization will not trade Joakim Noah, and instead work diligently toward signing Noah for the long term.
Squash the rumors right now. The Bulls don't need distractions heading into training camp. The only way they are going to legitimately compete for a championship is if they play more as a team and more cohesively than any other team in the NBA.
That doesn't seem likely when one of the faces of your franchise is on the trading block.
Chicago fans seem to want Noah to stay. The Bulls management needs to show an unwavering commitment to Joakim going forward. They can't afford to fall drastically short of high expectations like in 2007-2008.
Remember, when experts were forecasting the Bulls to win the Eastern Conference?
Last I checked, some optimists have been hinting at that same prediction for 2010-2011. Let's hope reality is different this time around.