There has been a lot of speculation over the past several months about Carmelo Anthony seeking to leave the Denver Nuggets and there have been trades actively being sought by several NBA franchises, including the Houston Rockets, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls.
The original two teams, which Anthony first claimed he was most interested in being traded to, were the Knicks and the Bulls. But now Anthony has been reported to be only interested in signing an extension with New York.
This begs the question: Why now is Anthony apparently so sold on the Knicks and nobody else except them?
At the time this was reported, the Knicks were hot and garnering much of the NBA spotlight. New York had won 13 out of 14 games and even defeated Anthony's Nuggets, 129-125, on Dec. 12.
Is this the reason that 'Melo decided that he wanted New York to be his new NBA home?
The problem is that the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Hornets were the only two teams with winning records that New York defeated on their hot streak. Since then, Amar'e Stoudemire and the Knicks have dropped three of their last four games.
The reason the Chicago Bulls are the better fit for Anthony, in terms of winning, is because they have more to offer the Denver Nuggets in a trade. They can afford to part ways with Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, James Johnson and a high first-round pick from the Charlotte Bobcats for Anthony.
New York simply does not have the trade leverage that Chicago has to offer Denver and are stubbornly refusing to part ways with Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler.
The problem for the Knicks may be that Donnie Walsh realizes that Anthony does not give them the parts they need in order to contend for an NBA championship.
Both Stoudemire and Anthony are prone to giving apathetic performances on the defensive end of the court and get their points in largely the same way—from mid-range, off of the dribble or in the post.
When push comes to shove, Stoudemire and Anthony might end up being the two battling for post position if the two were to become teammates.
The Knicks are sorely lacking quality interior defense and rebounding. These are two areas of the game in which the Chicago Bulls excel. They also would have an influx of big men (Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer, Kurt Thomas, Omer Asik). And Chicago also happens to boast one of the best young point guards in the game in the form of Derrick Rose.
If Anthony was dedicated to winning, he might be refusing to sign a re-up if he was traded anywhere but the Chicago Bulls. This is a team making a huge push, winning nine of their last 10 games.
It now appears like an arms race between the Knicks and the Nets for the services of Anthony. And New Jersey may actually be the favorites to land the 26-year-old small forward and appear to be willing to part with rookie Derrick Favors, the expiring contract of Troy Murphy and two first-round draft picks.
The Chicago Bulls are dark horses in this race at best and will not pull the trigger on any 'Melo deal that does not involve him signing an extension with the club and wisely so.
If Anthony was dedicated to winning, he would want to go to the Chicago Bulls and play alongside the premier point guard, Rose, and attempt to help lead the team to an NBA title.
Maybe he just has his eye on the Big Apple and wants to make a big splash in the biggest sports market in the country. After all, it is his home state. And there is a lot of success to be had for whomever could lead New York back to glorify for the first time in over three decades.
But is it so unfathomable that championship glory in the near future for the Knicks is merely just a pipe dream?
The Knicks have recently had an aura of promise surrounding their team, but the only thing that we know for sure is that the Bulls' aura is definitely not a mirage.