For months now, Denver Nuggets small forward Carmelo Anthony has wanted out of the Mile High City.
He wants out so bad that he is denying a three-year, $65 million offer to stay, even if he is paid less after the next collective bargaining agreement.
One team on Melo's hot list is the Chicago Bulls, who are an emerging power in the East.
The Nuggets want Joakim Noah in any trade involving Anthony, but Chicago signed their fourth-year center to a five-year, $60 million extension this offseason and want to keep him.
Looking at other possibilities, the Bulls could offer Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and James Johnson for Melo with draft picks, but would trading for Anthony make the Bulls better?
Anthony is a superb scorer, averaging 24.7 points a game in his career and 24.5 points this season. He is a decent rebounder and provides some size at 6’8” at the No. 3 position.
Despite these positives, negatives would ensue from this deal.
The Bulls will not gain much of an edge acquiring Anthony because of his defensive lapses and the team losing too much bona fide talent.
Melo’s main weakness is his defense. According to an ESPN True Post blog, Anthony has a poor defensive efficiency. The Nuggets gave up five percent fewer points in 2009-10 when No. 15 was on the bench.
The blog also states Anthony is weak on picks, provides weak double teams, backs off shooters and can’t defend well on the perimeter.
Chicago does not have any problems scoring. They post 105 points a night and are shooting 48.3 percent. However, defense is another story with the Bulls allowing 100.4 points.
Those numbers aren’t horrible, but will dip if Anthony is acquired.
Besides being a defensive liability, Melo would cost the Bulls too much talent.
Luol Deng has been healthy the last couple years and played consistently. He has 20.6 points and 2.6 assists a night while shooting 44 percent. Deng is also a solid defender who will be missed if a defensively vulnerable Anthony would come.
Without Deng, the Bulls cannot possibly shift him to the No. 2 spot that Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer have not filled well. This kills some flexibility.
Both Taj Gibson and James Johnson are young forwards who could improve.
Gibson is having a break out season starting in Boozer’s stead. He averages 14.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks while playing good defense. He is the Bulls' best bench player and could win Sixth Man of the Year.
Johnson is a project with a good upside. He improved his court movement in the summer league and is Deng’s backup. Given time, Johnson could become a solid player.
Losing Deng and Gibson would probably equal what the Bulls gain from Anthony. While Melo can score at will, Deng and Gibson have shown strong scoring abilities of their own.
Both players are also good defensively when that is Carmelo’s weakness and depth would be hurt.
Remember, Chicago downed Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets 94-92 Nov. 8. This proves they could be successful without his services.