Anytime you align with two top four scorers at their respective positions, you’re going to suffer statistically and no one knows that better than LeBron James.
No one expected James to run away with MVP voting or a scoring title this year, but neither did anyone expect one of his worse overall statistical seasons to date.
Though James’s 8.6 assists per game ties the career high he established last season, he’s also averaging a career high in turnovers (4.38), a career low in rebounds (5.5), and his 44 FG% is by far the worst we’ve seen from him since his rookie season.
Sure James and the Heat have time to figure it out, but we can already take one lesson from them: two dominant scorers can’t always co-exist peacefully.
If Anthony were to leave the Nuggets for Chicago, the Bulls would not only risk stunting the growth of Derrick Rose, but they would also need Anthony to accept a diminished role in the team’s offense (particularly after the return of Carlos Boozer).
When James made that choice, he did so with the knowledge that he could dominate the game in more ways than his sheer scoring. The aforementioned 8.6 assists James earned last year was the highest assist average of any small forward ever.
Even Larry Bird.
Anthony’s game isn’t nearly as diverse. Though he may believe that Chicago would offer a better chance at a deep postseason run, the sacrifice it would take for him to co-exist with Rose could leave both players with stunted production.
Nothing Anthony has said or done screams “get me the hell out of here!” Instead, his demeanor and sound bites tend to lean more toward disappointment with the team’s direction and a desire to remain relevant in the changing landscape of the NBA, whether in Denver or elsewhere.
A blockbuster trade with Chicago would certainly keep Anthony relevant by means of increased media coverage, but if the Bulls failed to achieve anything of significance (i.e. anything bigger than a Central Division title), the coverage Anthony would receive wouldn’t be the kind he bargained for.
With a bit of foresight by Anthony and a steady improvement by the Nuggets, Anthony may re-sign with the Nuggets for a short term contract sooner than people think.