NBA Rumors: Will Bulls Pursue Carmelo Anthony With Joakim Noah Injured?

Drake Oz@drakeozbrSenior Writer IIDecember 16, 2010

NBA Rumors: Will Bulls Pursue Carmelo Anthony With Joakim Noah Injured?

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 10: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls boxes out Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers at the United Center on December 10, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Lakers 88-84. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledge
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    NBA Trade Rumors: The Chicago Bulls just took a big blow to their NBA Championship aspirations. 

    Center Joakim Noah will reportedly miss eight to 10 weeks following thumb surgery, and the Bulls will now be without their second most important player for the foreseeable future.

    With Noah likely out until February, the Bulls certainly haven taken a step back in the Eastern Conference.

    But does that mean that Chicago will now try to swing a trade for Carmelo Anthony?

    It's time to debate, y'all.

5. No: Anthony Isn't the Nugget the Bulls Will Trade For

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07:  J.R. Smith #5 of the Denver Nuggets holds his jaw as he reacts to a call against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 7, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User express
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    The Chicago Bulls are looking to trade for a Denver Nugget—it just isn't Carmelo Anthony.

    According to ESPN.com, the two teams are currently in trade talks centering around shooting guard J.R. Smith. 

    There are no further details on the proposed swap, but it does seem like it could work for both teams.

    Smith has worn out his welcome in Denver, and the Bulls could use a scorer at the shooting guard position.

5. Yes: The Bulls Need Him To Succeed in the East

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    PHOENIX - NOVEMBER 15:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets shoots a free throw shot during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on November 15, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Nuggets 100-94.  NOTE TO USER: Us
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The Miami Heat has the Big Thrice, the Boston Celtics have the Big Three and Rajon Rondo, and the Orlando Magic have arguably the deepest team team in the league.

    The Bulls have a pretty deep roster themselves, but their team takes a huge hit without Joakim Noah.

    Taj Gibson will have to take on a much bigger role with Noah off the court, and that bench won't be as affective now that it's lost a player to the starting lineup.

    But if the team can swing a trade for Carmelo Anthony, that bench doesn't become as big of a problem.

    The Bulls can do most of their damage with the starting unit, and they'll still have a solid enough bench to succeed in the Eastern Conference.

    After all, Chicago's reserves would still be leaps and bounds better than Miami's.

4. No: The Swap Would Have To Be Noah for Anthony

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 10: Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls looks at a referee during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the United Center on December 10, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Lakers 88-84. NOTE TO USER: User express
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The Bulls may want Carmelo Anthony, but they're not going to trade away Joakim Noah to get him.

    And that's exactly who the Denver Nuggets want.

    The main hangup in earlier trade discussions was Chicago's reluctance to part with Noah in any trade for Anthony.

    If Anthony is going to wind up a Bull, then Noah is going to wind up a Nugget.

    That probably isn't worth it to Chicago.

4. Yes: His Rebounding Has Been Stellar this Season

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets grabs a rebound over Stephen Jackson #1 of the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 7, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User exp
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    When did Carmelo Anthony become the league's best rebounding small forward?

    Seriously, the dude's been a beast on the boards this year.

    Anthony has 24 rebounds in his last two games, and he even had a 15-rebound and 22-rebound performance earlier in the season.

    For the 2010-11 campaign, he's averaged 8.3 rebounds per game, which is two rebounds more per game than he averages for his career and is tremendous considering the position he plays.

    And with the Bulls losing a phenomenal rebounder in Joakim Noah, Anthony might be worth bringing in thanks to his ability to clean up on the glass.

3. No: Anthony Doesn't Fit a Need

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 07:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets watches on against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 7, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Chicago's starting center goes down with an injury, so the Bulls should trade for a small forward to replace him?

    That doesn't really make any sense. 

    Carmelo Anthony, even if he was sent to Chicago for Luol Deng (among others), would not replace what the team is losing because of Joakim Noah's injury.

    If the Bulls are going to trade for someone, it should be a dominating paint presence.

    And as good as Anthony is, he would completely change Chicago's identity, rather than continue the one that's been pretty successful with Noah there.

3. Yes: An Anthony-To-Chicago Trade Has Been Rumored Before

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 11:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets looks on during a break in the action against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on November 11, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 118-112.  NOTE TO USER: Use
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The Carmelo Anthony to Chicago Bulls talk extends way back to the time when dinosaurs walked the earth.

    OK, not really

    But the two sides have been linked together for a while now and in multiple trade scenarios.

    There's was the rumored three-team trade that would send Anthony to the Bulls, Luol Deng to the Philadelphia 76ers and Taj Gibson and Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets.

    There was also the proposed Joakim Noah for Carmelo Anthony swap.

    Though these trade talks have never moved past the infant stages, they did indeed happen.

    And they'll certainly come up numerous times before the NBA trade deadline as the Bulls make a push to bring Anthony to the Windy City.

2. No: The Bulls Would Have To Give Up Too Much

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    CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 01: Taj Gibson #22 of the Chicago Bulls looks to pass against the Portland Trail Blazers at the United Center on November 1, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Trail Blazers 110-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledg
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    If the Chicago Bulls trade for Carmelo Anthony, they'll be giving up more than just a few expiring contracts.

    Chicago will likely part with Luol Deng, who is injury prone but is still underrated, and some combination of Taj Gibson, James Johnson and a draft pick.

    That's a lot to give up for Anthony, even though he's a superstar in the NBA.

    If an Anthony trade comes at the cost of destroying team chemistry, hurting the team's long-term future and netting only Anthony in return, then Chicago may not want to make the blockbuster swap.

2. Yes: The Bulls Need Scoring Help

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    PHOENIX - NOVEMBER 15:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets lays up a shot against the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game at US Airways Center on November 15, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Nuggets 100-94.  NOTE TO USER: User express
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Though the Bulls obviously have some talented offensive players, they're still a mediocre team when it comes to scoring.

    Chicago ranks 15th in the league with 100.1 points per game, and they've failed to score 100 points in 12 of their last 17 games.

    Though the Bulls defense has been very good—holding opponents to 96.2 points per game—they could certainly use a boost on the offensive end.

    And needless to say, Carmelo Anthony would provide the Bulls with that.

1. No: Anthony Wouldn't Re-Sign With the Bulls

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    PHOENIX - OCTOBER 22:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets smiles on the bench during the preseason NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on October 22, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Carmelo Anthony's made it pretty clear: he wants to play for the New York Knicks, and that's the only team he'd definitely be willing to sign a contract extension with.

    If the Chicago Bulls traded for Anthony, they'd be putting all their eggs in one basket so to speak.

    There's absolutely no guarantee that he would be willing to sign a contract extension with the team, and he could simply walk away once his current contract expires.

    Does Chicago really want to trade two or three key pieces and a draft pick for a two-year rental?

1. Yes: The Bulls Need Another Offensive Playmaker

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    CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 10: Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls drives against the Los Angeles Lakers at the United Center on December 10, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Lakers 88-84. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Derrick Rose is an offensive star, and Carlos Boozer is too when he's healthy.

    Now imagine how good those two guys could be if the Bulls bring Carmelo Anthony into the mix.

    Teams can key in on Rose and Boozer right now because they pack most of Chicago's scoring punch.

    But adding Boozer to Chicago's starting lineup would really spread the floor for all three players.

    As hard as it is to defend Rose, Boozer and Luol Deng, it becomes a lot more difficult to stop three of the NBA's elite scorers for four quarters every night. 

The Verdict: Will the Bulls Now Pursue Carmelo Anthony?

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    PHOENIX - APRIL 13:  Carmelo Anthony #15 of the Denver Nuggets in action during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on April 13, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns defeated the Nuggets 123-101.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowle
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    It's hard to argue against any team bringing in a guy like Carmelo Anthony, who's one of the top seven or eight players in the league.

    But there are also plenty of reasons why he wouldn't fit in Chicago.

    Perhaps most importantly, a trade for Anthony would cost Chicago plenty of key players without guaranteeing that he re-signs with Bulls.

    Because of the uncertainty surrounding Anthony's willingness to play in Chicago and Denver's lofty trade demands, the Bulls probably won't be eager to pull the trigger on a trade for Anthony.

    And they shouldn't be.

    The Verdict: The price is too high. Chicago will pass on Anthony.