As you probably already know, Carmelo Anthony is available…insomuch as he has yet to sign a contract extension with the Nuggets and reportedly wants out of Denver. Since this news broke, ESPN’s Trade Machine has been getting worked so hard it just applied for the witness protection program.
Naturally, one of the hot rumors is a potential ‘Melo-to-Chicago trade.
According to Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald: “If the Nuggets decide to hold an Anthony auction in the coming months, he could end up anywhere and the Bulls should have the means to compete. They could start by offering Luol Deng, who plays the same position, along with maybe Taj Gibson and a first-round draft pick or two. As long as the Bulls are willing to offer a maximum deal next summer, they would have a good chance of keeping Anthony long-term. On paper, they should have a better chance of competing in the East than the Knicks.”
McGraw then provides each player’s 2009-10 averages: 28.2 PPG and 6.6 RPG for Anthony and 17.6 PPG and 7.3 RPG for Deng. The idea is that Deng plays the same position and could cover most of what Anthony gave the Nuggets. Statistically speaking, that is. Deng is no clutch player and tends to miss 10-15 games a season.
Reality check: ‘Melo’s Player Efficiency Rating was 22.2 (All-Star), while Luol’s was 16.1 (third banana). Furthermore, Deng’s contract is worth $11+ million this season, $12+ million next season, $13+ million the season after that and then $14+ million in 2013-14.
Sure, Deng might be one of the better small forwards (in terms of production if not health) the Nuggets could get back in a trade for Anthony. And, to be fair, Luol has been tearing it up in international play this summer. But ask yourself this: Will the Nuggets (or any team for that matter) want to be paying Deng $14 million dollars four seasons from now?
I can’t see it.
I’m not saying the Bulls shouldn’t try to get ‘Melo. Of course they should. They’d be stupid not to. But realistically, the chances are slim. Besides, I’ve read more buzz about New York, New Jersey and even Houston than I have about Chicago. Every Captain Ahab wants to catch a White Whale, but I don’t think this particular fish is swimming in the Bulls’ ocean.