The Carmelo Anthony sweepstakes continue on as the Chicago Bulls remain a strong possibility for the disgruntled star.
But with the team opening the season strong without power forward Carlos Boozer, should the Bulls still pursue a trade for Melo?
Chicago Bulls analyst Sam Smith of Bulls.com thinks so.
Smith, a nationally recognized NBA columnist, said Chicago would be Anthony's top destination if he wants to win. The reason being the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets don't have strong supporting casts after trading for him.
The Bulls, meanwhile, have three other potential All-Stars in Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Boozer.
Smith proposes trading Luol Deng and a No. 1 pick to the Toronto Raptors or Cleveland Cavaliers while moving Taj Gibson, Omer Asik and two or three No. 1 picks to the Denver Nuggets.
Some see this as a championship move because Anthony is one of the NBA's top ten players while others would cringe in limiting the Bulls' roster depth.
Would a trade like this be worth it? Or is it simply too much?
One of the alluring aspects of Melo's game is his natural ability to score.
During a seven-plus year NBA career, Carmelo has averaged 24.7 points a night on 45.9 percent shooting. He also is a decent passer for a No. 3, with 3.1 assists a game.
This season, he is averaging 25.4 points and has four seasons with 25-plus points a game.
Melo also has 45 games of playoff experience and knows how to deliver in crunch time. He has 24.5 points and 3 assists on 42.4 percent shooting.
With Melo playing off Rose, Boozer and Noah, the Bulls will be scoring points like there is no tomorrow.
A lineup of Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Carmelo Anthony would scare teams around the league senseless.
Rose, 22, has emerged as an elite point guard who is only getting better. His 25.2 points and 8.5 assists on 48 percent shooting is simply lethal and he is not getting to the foul line as much as he should.
Rose's early performance has made good on his preseason MVP assertion.
Noah, 25, has hit the gym and gained the necessary muscle needed to be a consistent low post scorer. He has added 14.9 points a game in 2010-11, which is up from his eight point career average.
He is pulling down 13.3 boards a night and is a strong defender and shot blocker. Being the Bulls' energy guy, Noah is locked up for the next five years.
Boozer, 29, has averaged a double-double his entire career, scoring 17.2 points and grabbing 10.2 boards. Boozer provides a strong post presence that requires double teams so he doesn't dominate the paint.
These double teams open the floor for teammates to score. With Noah, they could dominate the boards. Boozer is signed for six years.
Having Anthony, Boozer and Noah is tough.
Looking around the league, the Bulls would have the best starting frontcourt.
The Miami Heat would throw LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Bosh is underachieving and is a soft player who Boozer would knock around. Ilgauskas would simply be owned by Noah.
The Los Angeles Lakers throw Ron Artest, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol. Odom versus Boozer and Gasol versus Noah would basically be a wash, but Anthony would have the edge on Ronny Boy.
The Orlando Magic have Quentin Richardson, Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard. Howard would have a slight edge over Noah, but Anthony and Boozer are better than Richardson and Lewis.
The Boston Celtics throw Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Shaquille O'Neal. All three bigs are aging while the Bulls have youth on their side.
New Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau is all about defense. His defensive system relies on quick, aggressive defense to create turnovers and points in transition.
Anthony is not a good defender, and this is not a well kept secret.
In an ESPN True Hoop blog, there was a study done for the 2009-10 Denver Nuggets. When Melo was on the floor, the team gave up five percent more points than when he was not playing.
These stats don't even account for Melo's lack of fundamentals on the defensive end, including looking clueless on the perimeter.
Even though Noah and Boozer are solid defenders, they would have to work extra hard to make up for Anthony's defensive lapses.
LaMarcus Aldridge owns benchwarmer Brian Scalabrine on this play. If the Bulls acquire Anthony by giving up Taj Gibson, Scalabrine would be Boozer's primary backup.
Besides Deng, Anthony's price would be high to pay if they trade away Gibson and Asik like Smith suggests.
Gibson, 25, has proven this year he could consistently pull down double-doubles as well as being a great fundamental defender. He is physically tough after battling plantar fasciitis in both feet.
Asik, 24, has been a solid contributor off the bench, scoring 3.6 points, grabbing 3.5 boards and blocking 0.6 shots in 13-plus minutes of play. He has provided stellar defense, some good size in the frontcourt and will improve.
If these two pieces leave via trade, the primary backups for Boozer and Noah would be Brian Scalabrine and Kurt Thomas.
Scalabrine, 32, is an annual bench warmer who is only here because Thibodeau coached him in Boston. Power forwards eat him alive. Also, imagine if Boozer gets re-injured? Say hello to a scrub who tries hard but can't produce.
Thomas, 38, has played only three games this season because of injury. Even if healthy, his scoring and minutes will be minimal because his career is at its last stage.
Right now, the Bulls have a deep frontcourt rotation, but getting Anthony would weaken it while putting more pressure on Boozer and Noah to play longer minutes.
D-Rose is the face of the Chicago Bulls. Period.
He has blown up this league as a dynamic point guard and his production demands that he get paid a top contract.
But that could be hard for the Bulls to give if they have Melo on payroll.
Anthony will likely be looking for a contract extension for maximum or near-maximum money. He, Noah and Boozer would already be taking up a large portion of the salary cap space.
Where would this leave Rose?
It would make it difficult for him to get the contract he deserves, and make him look for a club that would appreciate his talents by dollar amount.
Also, it is more challenging finding an elite point guard to lead a team and be its pivotal centerpiece, obviously adding more to Rose's already high value.
The Bulls should not gamble in obtaining Anthony if that means keeping Rose becomes difficult.
Carmelo Anthony is a special player who could make the Chicago Bulls a championship caliber team for years to come.
But at what price?
Despite a star-studded starting lineup and enough scoring power to last a lifetime, Anthony's asking price could be way too steep.
If Sam Smith's trade scenario were met, Gibson and Asik would have to go, leaving Scalabrine and Thomas as Boozer and Noah's primary backups.
Suppose Carlos and/or Joakim get injured, these backups would not be effective against NBA starters and could cost the Bulls playoff seeding and possibly a playoff series.
That is an Achilles heel that should not be tweaked.
Melo should not be pursued by the Bulls, but what do you think? Please share your thoughts on whether Anthony is needed for championship glory, or would hinder the Bulls in that quest.